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Front End: Comic move for Barings boss

One of the UK's rudest magazines,Viz, has recruited the services of ex-Barings Securities boss, Peter Norris. The blue-blooded banker has moved to a magazine whose comic strip characters include Sid the Sexist, the Fat Slags and Biffer Bacon, the last of whom spends most of his time doing bodily harm to his parents.

Viz, which is one of the profanest and funniest publications in the UK, sells about half a million copies and was started by two brothers in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1979. It is not supposed to be sold to little children.

Norris joins as a non-executive director of the magazine's holding company, John Brown Publishing, and will work two days a week to cast a fresh eye on the business.

Nor will it be Norris's first stint at the company. When it was founded in 1987 by John Brown, he worked there temporarily as a non-paid company secretary.

Viz editor Chris Donald says the appointment does not surprise him because John Brown "likes to employ old friends and failed bankers. For some reason, John thinks investment bankers are good at running smutty magazines."

Adds Donald: "John would give Nick Leeson a job if he was available - as his personal financial adviser."

Does Norris reads Viz? "He has to now. He gets one free," replies Brown. Steven Irvine

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