Robin Esser, executive managing editor of the Daily Mail, is set to be appointed as the new president of the Society of Editors later this year.
The Fleet Street career of the former Sunday Express editor and Northern editor of the Daily Express spans more than 50 years.
Subject to approval by the society’s annual meeting, Esser will takeover from current president Donald Martin, editor of Scotland’s Sunday Post, in November at the society’s conference in Glasgow.
Francesca Unsworth, head of newsgathering for the BBC, has been nominated as Esser’s vice-president, subject to ratification.
Martin said: ‘The society’s board reflects our members who are fiercely competitive but in the society’s key task of defending media freedom, freedom of expression and the public’s right to know there is complete unanimity.
‘Government ministers and others will know that when the society raises its voice it will have a powerful message from across the media.”
After graduating from Oxford, Esser’s first staff job was at the Daily Express; he later edited the William Hickey column and headed up the Express New York bureau.
In other changes to the society’s board former Daily Telegraph managing editor Sue Ryan has been nominated to succeed treasurer Pat Pilton who is retiring.
Regional representation on the board is also being strengthened with the nomination of Ian Murray, editor of the Southern Daily Echo, as a new board member.
Alan Qualtrough, editor of the Western Morning News, has been nominated to rejoin the board with Chris Elliott, former managing editor and now readers’ editor of the Guardian also nominated to join.
Former presidents Paul Horrocks and Nigel Pickover, long serving training committee chairman Peter Cole and Tony Watson will be retiring from the board at the annual meeting.