Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The House of Fraser

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The House of Fraser

Article excerpt

Byline: NAOMI MARKS

IT WASN'T even 8am when Jason Fraser stepped out of the black chauffeur-driven Mercedes outside Ludgate House yesterday for his first day at work as executive director of Express Newspapers. Within minutes, he had bounded up to the editorial floor of the Daily Star and was talking through the day's paper with its picture editor. Then it was on to meet the editors: men who might be permitted just a little resentment towards the "king of the paparazzi" now that he has been given an extremely expensive desk job by chairman Richard Desmond.

Fraser also has a seat on the board - something none of the editors can claim - and will be reporting directly to Desmond, over the heads of Chris Williams (Express), Peter Hill (Daily Star) and Michael Pilgrim (Sunday Express). He will out-earn them too, with a "seven-figure package" - some of it bonus-related - according to a well-placed source.

Yesterday's early visit to the editorial floor was the first of many that day. "He was constantly coming over to the picture desk, telling them 'This one is for the Express, this one is for the Star'," says a source. "It was clear that he was not going to take much discussion. He insisted the Express should run the Emma Thompson picture on the front." Not just any Emma Thompson picture, of course; one taken by a sneak pap on the beach in Cyprus, and captioned: "Jason Fraser/Mario Brenna".

How well his colleagues react to Fraser remains to be seen, particularly in the light of the 145 redundancies announced this week.

The appointment is the most vivid example of the group's policy - pay enormous money for people it considers to be "stars", and strip the ranks of non-executives.

It is said the title editors knew nothing of Fraser's new role until shortly before it was announced. And how well Fraser - who sold his first picture to The Sun at 15, and who hasn't stopped feeding the tabloids in the intervening 19 years - adapts to his new life locked inside the Grey Lubyanka also remains to be seen. …

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