M&S takes first outside PR staff

Marks and Spencer’s corporate media team has hired staff from outside the company for the first time, following a review of operations and a tough year of firefighting.

Marks and Spencer’s corporate media team has hired staff from

outside the company for the first time, following a review of operations

and a tough year of firefighting.



The retailer had always promoted from within, training people to become

corporate press officers. M&S has a company-wide tradition of nurturing

its own senior managers.



The two new recruits are Louis Hill, who joined this week from Cohn and

Wolfe, and Victoria Molyneux, who comes on board next week from

Safeway’s press office.



Their arrival boosts the headcount in the corporate PR team - which

receives up to 600 calls a week - to six. The team’s manager, Jane Lowe,

went into other retailers to see how they handled their PR before

deciding to get outsiders on board.



She said: ’We have had a lot more inquiries and have been trying to get

more proactive stories out. The only way was to get more people in.’



The retailer uses a raft of PR agencies for various tasks. Brunswick

handles financial issues and has recently helped with crisis PR.

Staniforth PR, Harrison Cowley, Anderson Kenny and James Harbison and Co

work on regional tasks across M&S’s three divisions: corporate, general

merchandise and home products.



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