Johnson quits GPC to take media relations job at GLA

Joy Johnson's tenure in commercial public affairs ended this week

with the news that she is to become head of media relations for the

Greater London Authority (GLA).



Johnson joined GPC a year ago as strategic communications director

(PRWeek, 11 April), as part of former MD Peter Bingle's hiring spree.

She is set to leave the agency within days of her return from holiday

next week.



It is the second time Johnson has moved posts after only 12 months in a

job. After a career in TV news - she headed party conference work for

the BBC in 1993 and 1994 - she spent a year as Labour Party director of

communications.



A well-publicised spat with her predecessor in that role, Peter

Mandelson, led her to become a freelance consultant, columnist and

pundit.



Johnson will report to GLA executive director of communications

Charlotte Rowe. She will also work closely with mayor Ken Livingstone

and press secretary Emma St Giles.



She will manage 12 press office staff, plus three for the assembly and a

further four for the political parties.



GPC managing director Kevin Bell, who became Johnson's boss when he

assumed the role in January, said: 'Joy is extremely talented and I am

sorry she's leaving. But if she wants to go and play politics with Ken,

that's her business.'



Newspapers last week speculated that she had 'burnt her bridges' with

the Labour hierarchy by working for Livingstone, who was unceremoniously

expelled from the party for standing as an independent candidate in the

mayoral poll last year.



But one informed source said that Johnson's supporters in the party

would value having a loyalist in close proximity to the mayor as a way

to 'curb his excesses'.



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