Joe Aston has announced his decision to depart The Australian Financial Review after 12 years, during which he turned the masthead’s Rear Window into a daily column and among its most compelling journalism.
Michael Stutchbury, editor-in-chief of the publication, said: “Joe is leaving at the top of his game as he takes a break from the daunting mission of holding power and hypocrisy to account day in and day out and to open up the options for the next phase of his career. He leaves with our best wishes.
“Joe took over the helm of Rear Window in 2011 at just 28 years old, and over the last dozen years, he has turned it into Australia’s must-read business and political column. Graduating from corporate star spotting to high-level corporate analysis, he turned a ‘gossip column’ into a form of journalism like never before seen in Australia, and arguably the world.”
Aston has interrogated some of the country’s biggest corporate stories during his time at the publication, including his relentless coverage of Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques over the Jukaan Gorge destruction; revelations surrounding the decline of Magellan and its co-founder Hamish Douglass; and his sustained dissection of Qantas and it’s former CEO Alan Joyce over the past year.
In many cases, Aston’s reporting has led to significant economic, political and legal ramifications, such as the firing of CPA chief executive and ‘Naked CEO’ Alex Malley and the resignation of its board, and the three-year ban on managing corporations handed down by the Federal Court to Murray Goulburn boss Gary Helou for misleading and deceptive conduct.
“It became an adage that, under Joe, Rear Window was the column business and political figures loved to read – so long as they weren’t mentioned in it!”, said Stutchbury.
Aston said of his departure: “It’s been the most tremendous privilege to write Rear Window for the past 12 years. To get paid for doing this job is an outrageous racket, for which I am thankful. I will really miss working with so many talented and devoted colleagues at the Financial Review, whose work is so important for our capital market and our democracy”
“You cannot speak truth to power so unflinchingly without having an unwavering editor behind you. In that regard, there is no editor in Australia like Michael Stutchbury and I am supremely grateful for his backing over the years. Thank you, as well, to the Financial Reviews’s awesome, loyal readers for their encouragement, feedback and support.”
Aston will continue to file for Rear Window for the next week. A new columnist will be announced in due course to join Joe’s trusted Rear Window partner, Myriam Robin.
Top image: Joe Aston