Sands will replace Jamie Angus, who was recently appointed deputy director of the BBC World Service. She will leave the Evening Standard later this year and until then will remain in post as editor. A new editor will be appointed in due course, the publisher said.
Sands held a number of posts at the Evening Standard in her early career, before joining the Daily Telegraph in 1996. In 2005 Sands became the first female editor of the Sunday Telegraph. However, she was sacked from the Telegraph after eight months as editor and 10 years in the company in March 2006, following a unpopular redesign of the paper. She became a consultant editor at the Daily Mail before rejoining the Evening Standard in 2009.
Sands became editor of the Evening Standard following Geordie Greig's departure for the Mail on Sunday in March 2012.
Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev said: “The Evening Standard has been a huge success under Sarah’s editorship, and she has been a vital part of the team since this company acquired the Evening Standard in 2009. Sarah will leave with our very best wishes for her new role.”
Sands said: “I am grateful to Evgeny for his support of this newspaper and guarding it against all the head winds of the industry. It has been an absolute pleasure to work for him and to be part of a first rate professional team.”