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Fleet Street veteran to become next SoE president

A senior Daily Mail journalist is set to become the next president of the Society of Editors.

Mail executive editor Robin Esser has had a Fleet Street career spanning more than 50 years which also included a spell as editor of the Sunday Express.

He has been chairman of the society’s parliamentary and legal committee since 2002 and has now been nominated to succeed Sunday Post editor Donald Martin as president in November.

Francesca Unsworth, head of newsgathering for the BBC has been nominated as vice-president.

Regional representation on the society’s board is also being strengthened by the nomination of Southern Daily Echo editor Ian Murray and Western Morning News editor Alan Qualtrough as new board members.

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover and former Manchester Evening News editor Paul Horrocks, both former SoE presidents, are bowing out, as is former Yorkshire Post editor Tony Watson, now a senior executive with the Press Association.

The nominations by the society’s board are subject to approval by the society’s annual meeting in Glasgow in November.

If members agree Francesca is destined to follow Robin next year and become the society’s second woman president. She joined the SoE board in 2009.

Said Robin: “After 13 years of the last government when we saw legislation reducing the freedom of the press we now face a new government and new challenges to that pillar of democracy.

“The Society of Editors must be at the forefront in the fight to restore and protect media freedoms as it represents all sides of the mainstream information providers – broadcasting, local, regional and national newspapers. I am privileged to be asked to head up this struggle.”