In the surprise announcement today (17 March), the owner of the free London daily Evgeny Lebedev said that Osborne - who will remain an MP - was "someone of huge political achievement, and economic and cultural authority".
“Once he put himself forward for the position, he was the obvious choice,” said Lebedev. “I am proud to have an editor of such substance, who reinforces the Evening Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint - liberal on social issues and pragmatic on economic ones - closely matches those of many of our readers.”
He replaces Sarah Sands, who was editor for four years. She announced her departure in January to become the editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Osborne will take on the role in early May.
"This is such an exciting and challenging job and I’m thrilled to take it on. The Evening Standard is a great paper, testimony to the hard work of Sarah Sands and the impressive team, and to the investment of its owners. I look forward to working with, learning from and leading this team of dedicated professionals,” said Osborne.
“Growing up as a Londoner, I’ve always known that the Evening Standard is an institution that plays a huge part in the life of the city and its people. Now it is a great honour that I can play a part as leader of the editorial team making the Evening Standard the definitive voice of the world’s most exciting city."
Osborne will remain in parliament serving Tatton constituents as a Conservative MP, "but as editor and leader of a team of dedicated and independent journalists, our only interest will be to give a voice to all Londoners," he reassured.
"We will be fearless as a paper fighting for their interests. We will judge what the government, London’s politicians and the political parties do against this simple test: is it good for our readers and good for London? If it is, we’ll support them. If it isn’t, we’ll be quick to say so."
It's not the first hire Lebedev has made from the government. Earlier this month, 10 Downing Street’s head of digital, David Tomchak, was appointed digital director of editorial at the Standard. He will also start in May, working closely with Osborne to drive digital growth across its two main sites, Standard.co.uk and Homes and Property,