The Brighter Group is looking to considerably strengthen its presence in the travel sector and the decision to take on Benjafield is the first of a number of initiatives focusing on the growth of the independent agency.
Benjafield, who left his position as senior PR manager at Thomson and First Choice's parent company on 19 January after taking voluntary redundancy, will take up his new position at Brighter Group on 21 February, reporting to Debbie Flynn, the company's CEO.
Flynn said: 'I am delighted to confirm Ian's appointment at Brighter Group. He enjoys a fantastic reputation across the industry, not only with journalists but also his peers, and I'm confident that a man of his experience and track record will actively contribute to the success and future growth of our business.'
Prior to his five-year tenure at TUI, Benjafield worked at Disneyland Paris. Over the course of 13 years, he held positions in hotel management before moving into comms with roles that included internal communications, corporate communications and press relations, where he headed up the company's European Public Relations team before returning to the UK in 2005.
Brighter chairman Steve Dunne added: 'As we enter our 16th year in business we believe Ian's far-reaching experience with two of the best brands in the travel sector will ensure we continue to offer our current and potential clients a superior service. We also feel confident that Ian will add enormous value in consolidating Brighter's new business successes following a number of recent major client wins, including ACTE and Eastern Cape province in South Africa.'
Benjafield took voluntary redundancy, along with the company's head of PR Emma Waddell in October 2010. Liz Bartlett was promoted from senior PR manager to head of press and PR for the UK and Ireland in December.