In a shock move, Andy Kyle, picture editor of The Mail on Sunday and a former picture editor of the Daily Mail, has been poached to join the rival Daily and Sunday Express as assistant editor (pictures).
Jason Fraser, executive director of Express Newspapers, is thought to have been the man who persuaded Kyle to defect, while editor Chris Williams has known Kyle for 15 years and worked with him before.
Fraser told Press Gazette: "I’ve known Andy a long time and have a huge amount of respect for him."
Kyle has been with Associated Newspapers for 19 years, 12 of them in the picture editor’s chair.
He said he thought that Associated was one of the most stable and successful newspaper groups but, as a picture editor, he was not going to go any further there.
"Picture editors simply don’t go any further in Associated," Kyle explained.
"It’s something I fully understand and it’s probably right for this group, but other papers have different structures.
"Jason came along and offered me a package that I thought was worth going for – a sizeable increase on what I am earning now.
"But it probably wasn’t the money. It was the opportunity to widen my brief.
"I hope I can bring some of the techniques that I have learned here to the Daily and Sunday Express, which has now got an injection of cash – undoubtedly one of the major things that a picture desk needs. They are clearly spending money on showbiz. I hope I can bring the same expertise to bear in news pictures."
The Expresses have been without a picture editor since Chris Djukanovic recently took fast-track redundancy.
Williams, delighted to have captured the "talented and energetic" Kyle, said: "What makes it even more invigorating is the fact that Andy is ready to leave the barren, boring land of Associated Newspapers to come to the newspapers where everything is happening."
Fraser said: "He will be a great asset to us. He will bring with him a wealth of experience and we very much look forward to welcoming him on board to help us continue with the growth we have been showing over the last few months."
Kyle is the second MoS man to opt for a rival in the last month. Former deputy news editor Nick Buckley has already left to be the Sunday Mirror assistant editor (news).
By Jean Morgan