Micklethwait was born in 1962, in London, England, and educated at the independent school Ampleforth College and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied history. He worked for Chase Manhattan Bank for two years and joined The Economist in 1987. Prior to becoming editor-in-chief, he was United States editor of the publication and ran the New York Bureau for two years. Before that, he edited the Business Section of the newspaper for four years. His other roles have included setting up an office in Los Angeles for The Economist, where he worked from 1990 to 1993. He has covered business and politics from the United States, Latin America, Continental Europe, Southern Africa and most of Asia.
Appointed as editor-in-chief on 23 March 2006, the first issue of The Economist published under his editorship was released on 7 April 2006. He was named Editors' Editor by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2010. A frequent broadcaster, Micklethwait has appeared on CNN, ABC News, BBC, C-SPAN, PBS and NPR.
He is a trustee of the British Museum
Good timing has played a major role in John Micklethwait's career.
Two months before the Black Monday stock market crash in 1987, Micklethwait cashed in his job as a fledgling investment banker at Chase Manhattan to land an entry-level position at The Economist without any journalistic training — or even knowing how to type, the 52-year-old editor told blog Rverie in an interview.
At the time, scores of financial journalists in London were going the other way to join investment banks, recalled Micklethwait, who eventually became the magazine's editor-in-chief. But with the stock market crashing soon after he left the banking job, he managed to avoid mass layoffs that hit the city's financial sector.
In January, Micklethwait will leave the only journalistic institution he's worked for to take on a far bigger set of responsibilities as editor-in-chief of Bloomberg L.P., overseeing its giant financial news wire service and other online consumer-focused media sites that are just starting to spread their wings.
His hiring by the New York media empire, announced earlier this month, is timed to mesh with the return to full management leadership by company owner Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, who had been away for 12 years while he ran City Hall.
With the company eager to lessen its dependence on its financial news-and-data terminals for media sales and reach, Bloomberg is looking beyond traders and financiers by diversifying news offerings, aiming at a general audience. The former mayor has always had an affinity for The Economist, from which he poached the newsman he believes will set a new editorial tone. In the process, Bloomberg bypassed Laurie Hays, senior executive editor at Bloomberg News, who was rumored to be in the running for the top spot.
Micklethwait takes the helm as Matt Winkler, the longtime Bloomberg News editor-in-chief and company legend, steps aside to become editor-in-chief emeritus. Winkler, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was Bloomberg's newsroom leader from day one and established its rigorous journalistic culture, will continue to work with Bloomberg on strategy and help reporters shape key stories.
Micklethwait is the co-author of several books with Adrian Wooldridge, including: