After just two months as Peter Hill’s deputy at the Daily Star, Dawn Neesom has become the second woman this year to land the editorship of a redtop daily.
In January, Rebekah Wade moved from the News of the World to become editor of The Sun.
Neesom, 39, has been at the Star for seven years, joining as woman’s editor before working her way up to features editor and then associate editor.
Before her promotion this week she was joint deputy alongside Hugh Whittow. She previously spent five years as a feature writer on The Sun.
Hill has been named as the new editor of the Daily Express, replacing Chris Williams, who abruptly left on Thursday after three years at the paper.
In a parting shot, Williams, who has rejoined the Daily Mail as Scottish editor, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to rejoin a company which loves journalism and invests in it.”
Express Newspapers has declined to comment on reports that next year’s editorial budget at the Daily Express is to be cut by 10 per cent, or £5m.
Circulation of the Daily Express has steadied over the past year to around 950,000 after a period of steep decline.
But it is still a long way behind midmarket rival the Daily Mail, which sells around 2,500,000.
During Hill’s five years in charge at the Daily Star, a diet of celebrity news, TV-based stories and a high flesh content saw sales double from 400,000 to more than 800,000.
Hill declined to reveal his plans for the Express but said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be editor of the great Daily Express, after many wonderful years on the Daily Star where I have made so many friends.
“My new colleagues at the Express are a brilliant, talented bunch of people who, like me, believe passionately in our newspaper. Sorry I can’t share my plans with you. All I will say is we’re going for it.”
Hill, 58, has worked at the Colne Valley Guardian, Huddersfield Examiner, Manchester Evening News, Oldham Chronicle, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and People. He has been on the Star since 1978, having previously been deputy editor, associate editor, night editor and chief sub.
Express Newspapers editorial director Paul Ashford said: “Dawn Neesom is a brilliant young talent who has the creativity and the insights to take the Daily Star – whose circulation has increased by more than 50 per cent in the past three years – to the next stage of its development.”
By Dominic Ponsford