Fairfax national managing editor Mark Baker has stood aside from his position to take on a new “editor-at-large” role at The Age.

The Melbourne Press Club president — last seen at the closing party for Margaret Simons’ New News sessions at Federation Square — will travel around Victoria, Australia and the world to report on “big news events, issues and investigative projects”, according to a leaked internal memo from Metro Media editorial director Garry Linnell.

Baker is a 30-year Age veteran and has done nearly every job at the newspaper, including a range of impressive foreign correspondent stints. As national managing ed he oversaw copy across three mastheads and national affairs coverage on theage.com.au, smh.com.au and The National Times portal. He was confirmed in his previous role just two weeks ago.

Baker, who will start his new gig next month, joins Paul Kelly of The Australian and Pam Williams of The Australian Financial Review in the hallowed “editor-at-large” ranks.

Here’s the full message from Linnell, who’s seeking a “federal topic editor” to fill Baker’s substantial shoes:

I’m delighted to announce that Mark Baker will take on a senior writing and reporting role at his request after successfully leading a digital-first restructuring of our national affairs coverage.

Mark will become Editor-at-Large for The Age in a new position that will see him writing and reporting for Metro on big news events, issues and investigative projects in Victoria, across the nation and overseas.

Reluctant as I am to lose him as one of our leading editors after his achievements with our national affairs coverage, Mark’s request to return to reporting and writing was hard to turn down.

As a Fairfax foreign correspondent he worked for more than a decade in Asia with staff postings in Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore and Port Moresby. He has been a war correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan and covered the Tiananmen massacre, the Fiji coups and the civil war on Bougainville Island, during which he was wounded. He has also been a correspondent for News Limited and the London Financial Times.

In a career spanning more than 30 years at The Age, Mark Baker has been Senior Editor, Senior Deputy Editor, Political Editor and Canberra Bureau Chief, Managing Editor (Foreign) and Night Editor. He is a former editor of The Canberra Times.

During four years as supervising editor of The Age Investigative Unit he led the exclusive publication of the Australian Wikileaks cables and managed a string of other award-winning scoops that were instrumental in The Age being named Newspaper of the Year in 2011.

As Managing Editor (National) of Fairfax Metro Media he has, over the past year, created dedicated breaking news and video production teams in Canberra, established Australia’s first “live politics” blog with Katharine Murphy and transformed The National Times as the home for national affairs news, analysis and commentary across all Fairfax Metro websites.

Mark will remain in his current role until October to allow a transition to take place.

Applications for the role of Federal topic editor should be addressed to the National Editor, Darren Burden, by next Wednesday, 12 September.