Canberra Times legend Gerard Ryle has snaffled one of the best gigs in international journalism, beating off all-comers to take the helm of the Washington DC-based Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The Crimes deputy editor, who has won four Walkley Awards in a stellar career, will pilot in-depth projects exposing scams like the international asbestos trade and the black market in Bluefin tuna.

The Consortium boasts 100 member journalists in over 50 countries and its stories appear on iWatch News and increasingly in mass market newspapers.

On his way into news conference this morning, Ryle told Crikey he was “clearly thrilled and honoured, and particularly proud that I will be the first non-American appointed to the job”.

“It is one of the best positions in international journalism and I have been given a clear mandate to expand the membership and journalistic reach of the ICIJ,” he said. “Of course, it will also be a big challenge.”

Ryle’s most recent homegrown triumph came via his tenacious probing of the Firepower fuel pill and its disgraced boss Tim Johnston, producing a book — Firepower: the most spectacular fraud in Australian history. The wily Irish-Australian has held some of the best local posts too, including news editor and investigations editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and various roles at The Age.