James had in turn replaced Nicola Megson who left to join her husband, former Sheffield Star editor John Furbisher, in Brussels where he is now head of media for the Conservative Group of MEPs.
Paul left Archant in December after 17 years with the company, having previously been editorial director of its Herts & Cambs division.
A former editor of the Hunts Post, he was also instrumental in setting up the now-defunct weekly title Cambridge First.
The appointment was announced to staff by Lincolnshire Newspapers managing director Richard Parkinson who said: “I am sure you will join me in welcoming Paul to the company and supporting him in any way you can.”
Said Paul: “I am delighted to bounce back so quickly and be joining the regional company which is likely to be the most exciting and innovative for the next few years.
“There is a clear direction from the top and a willingness to make positive things happen shining through the people in the organisation I have met so far. That is so invigorating.
“Growing and engaging with the audience has been what my entire career has been all about and it is great to be given the opportunity to continue this with a strong brand in the Grantham Journal and a successful Lincolnshire stable of titles.
“There’s lots to do and that’s great. I always say: If you feel you are standing still, you must be going backwards. So, onwards and upwards.”