Richard Desmond is making serious cuts at his newspapers. His Express Newspapers company laying off 25 staff in an effort to reach its cost cutting target, as reported by the Guardian. Express Newspapers owns the Daily Express, Daily Star, Sunday Express and Daily Star Sunday. Eugene Duffy, who left as managing editor of Trinity Mirror after 28 years, is now a consultant on how to trim costs beyond the layoffs.
The job cuts will shave off 8 million pounds ($12 million) from the editorial staff, and is a step towards the ultimate target of 14 million or $21 million in savings. The timing couldn’t have been worse for the Daily Express’ cartoonist, Paul Thomas, who was told he was being dismissed on the day of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
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Management is not taking pay raises, and staff members have not seen an increase in their wages since 2008. Express NUJ chapel wants to see Richard Desmond sell the Express papers instead of making cuts, “We fear Richard Desmond will go down in history as the man who killed four national newspapers.” He has also been looking for a valuation of his magazine portfolio, including OK!, possibly for potential sale. He also sold Channel 5 to Viacom. Additionally concerning is Desmonds generous pledges to Nigel Farage’s party close to the general election, and there may be worries that editors may be encouraged to put a political slant on stories.
Richard Desmond was born to a Jewish family in Hampstead. His father Cyril was manager of a cinema advertising company, and lost his hearing. Cyril used to take his son Richard to business meetings so he could be his “ears.” That is how Richard got such an early start in business.