The appointment was announced Tuesday by Senior Managing Editor John Daniszewski, who oversees international news and photos.
"As a regional leader in Europe for the past six years, Ian Phillips has worked closely with reporters to find important news stories and explore the themes that are relevant to Europe and the world," Daniszewski said. "His editorial leadership will bring a fresh view to an area that is evolving rapidly."
Phillips will work from a base in Prague, Czech Republic, and lead journalists in a territory that includes Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova.
In conjunction with Phillips' appointment, the AP is also hiring more reporters in many of these countries to boost its videojournalism in particular.
"AP is making a major new investment in this part of the world, and Ian's leadership is a key part of that," said Europe Editor Niko Price. "By putting such a sophisticated news leader in charge of all formats, it will enable us to build journalism that is defined by the stories it's telling rather than by the medium it's using to tell them."
Phillips, 40, joined AP in 1994 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and reported from several South American countries before transferring to Paris in 1998 and AP's London office two years later. From 2001 to 2004 he was day supervisor at AP's World Desk in New York, helping shape and promote coverage for non-U.S. subscribers of events ranging from the Sept. 11 attacks to the Iraq War.
He was named deputy editor for Europe and Africa in 2004, and from a London base has been at the forefront of the company's efforts to produce cross-format journalism. At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he was the main coordinator between text, video and photos.
He helped lead coverage of major stories ranging from the terror attacks on London's transport network in 2005 and the deaths of Yasser Arafat and Pope John Paul II, to piracy off the east coast of Africa.
After AP created a regional desk for Africa in Johannesburg in 2009, Phillips focused on Europe, with emphasis on the region's financial crisis, immigration and security. He also led efforts to expand the international output of AP's German Service, which has since been sold to German news agency DDP.
Prior to joining AP, Phillips worked in Argentina for Reuters and The Buenos Aires Herald. He is British and graduated with a degree in Spanish and French from St. John's College, Cambridge University, in 1992.