That Kyle Pope is leaving the Observer after a year and a half as editor-in-chief is apparently not a huge surprise for some staffers who have watched him struggle as staffers fled the paper and he battled with owner Jared Kushner. (The Huffington Post reports the trouble between Pope and Observer brass has gone on for some time now.) But the appointment of Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers, which was announced today by the paper, caught people at the paper off guard. Spiers, who launched the Breaking Media blog group (made up of Dealbreaker, Above the Law, and Fashionista), has most recently been helping Condé Nast launch the GourmetLive.com site. A sort of new-media legend, she has a knack for launching web brands and then moving on to new projects. She’s also worked as an editor-in-chief at Mediabistro.com and at b5media, the umbrella company for Crushable and The Gloss. Though Pope will stay on for a short time in an advisory role, Spiers will start putting the paper together herself right away.