Andreas Whittam Smith

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, CBE (born Macclesfield 13 June 1937)[1] is an English financial journalist, who was one of the founders of The Independent newspaper which began publication in October 1986 with Whittam Smith as editor. He is a former president of the British Board of Film Classification.

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith

First Church Estates Commissioner
In office
6 March 2002 – June 2017
Succeeded byLoretta Minghella
Personal details
Born (1937-06-13) 13 June 1937 (age 84)
Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
newspaper editor

Early life and educationEdit

The son of an Anglican clergyman in the Diocese of Chester, he moved from Macclesfield to Birkenhead in 1940.[2] He was educated at Birkenhead School, and Keble College, Oxford.


Most of his career has been spent in the city in journalism, including as city editor of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph, and as editor of the Investors Chronicle from 1970 to 1977,[3] and Stock Exchange Gazette. With Matthew Symonds, he was a co-founder of The Independent newspaper and was its first editor from 1986 to 1993.[4] He still contributes articles on a regular basis.

Whittam Smith was chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service from 2001 to 2003. He is also a director of Independent News and Media (UK), Vice Chairman of Tunbridge Wells Equitable Friendly Society, and a vice-president of the National Council for One Parent Families. He was appointed president of the British Board of Film Classification in 1998, instigating liberalisation of film and video censorship, a post from which he resigned in 2002.[5] He has been on the Board of Trustees of The Architecture Foundation.

Whittam Smith was interviewed by National Life Stories (C467/08) in 2007 for the 'Oral History of the British Press' collection held by the British Library.[6]

Church of EnglandEdit

On 6 March 2002, Whittam Smith was appointed the First Church Estates Commissioner, a senior lay person in the Church of England.[2] As such, he is Chairman of the Church Commissioners' Assets Committee (an investment portfolio of £7 billion), and a member of the Church Commissioners' Board of Governors, the General Synod of the Church of England, and the Archbishops' Council.[7] It was announced in September 2016 that he would be stepping down as First Church Estates Commissioner in June 2017.[7]

Democracy 2015Edit

In 2012 Whittam Smith started the Democracy 2015 movement to attempt to reform how British democracy functions.[8] The movement's stated aim was to achieve a House of Commons majority in 2015 and form a reformist government independent of parliamentary parties and composed of non-politicians volunteering to stand for a single term only. The movement stood a candidate, Adam Lotun, in the Corby by-election on 15 November 2012. He came 13th out of 14 candidates, with 35 votes.[9]


In 1988 Whittam Smith was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) by the University of Bath.[10]

In 2003, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[11] In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List, he was made a Knight Bachelor "for public service, particularly to the Church of England", and therefore granted the title sir.[12]

In July 2017, he was awarded the Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England by the Archbishop of Canterbury.[13]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Why I am still an Anglican, Continuum, 2006, page 67
  3. ^ Nicholas John Wilkinson (2009). Secrecy and the Media: The Official History of the United Kingdom's D-Notice System. Routledge. p. 1030. ISBN 978-1-134-05253-0.
  4. ^ "New British newspaper takes on 'Qualities' in quest for readers". The Post and Courier. 7 October 1986. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Andreas Whittam Smith steps down as President of the BBFC". BBFC. 6 March 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ National Life Stories, 'Whittam Smith, Andreas (1 of 4) National Life Stories Collection: 'Oral History of the British Press', The British Library Board, 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Sir Andreas Whittam Smith to step down from Church Commissioners". Media Centre. Church of England. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  8. ^ Whittam Smith, Andreas (5 September 2012). "How you can bring our ailing democracy back to life". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012.
  9. ^ "By-elections: Labour takes Corby from Conservatives". BBC. 16 November 2012. Archived from the original on 16 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Honorary Graduates 1966 to 1988". University of Bath. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Stones frontman becomes Sir Mick". BBC News. 12 December 2003. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  12. ^ "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2015. p. B2.
  13. ^ "Archbishop of Canterbury's Awards ceremony held at Lambeth Palace". Archbishop of Canterbury. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2017.

External linksEdit

Media offices
Preceded by
(founding editor)
Editor of The Independent
Succeeded by
Ian Hargreaves
Preceded by
George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood
President of the British Board of Film Classification
Succeeded by
Quentin Thomas