PUBLIC SECT0R: Scottish Executive selects Imrie as press office chief

The Scottish Executive has ended its hunt for its first permanent

press office chief.



Colin Imrie will take up the senior civil service communications post

next month. He has been promoted from within the executive, where he is

currently head of the European structural funds division.



Imrie will lead a 36-strong press team and report to Robert Gordon, head

of the executive secretariat.



He will work alongside Scotland's first minister Henry McLeish's press

secretary Peter McMahon, former Daily Mirror political editor, who was

recruited last October.



Imrie's appointment comes at the same time as the departure of Susan

Stewart, one of two deputy heads of press.



Stewart is leaving to take up the role of Scotland's representative at

the British Embassy in Washington.



The other deputy head of press is Andrew Baird. He said: 'Colin has a

solid track record within the civil service in Scotland, working within

a range of fields, including agriculture and education. He has lots of

experience in media relations during the course of his career.'



Baird added that among the PR drives to be overseen by Imrie over the

coming months will be the introduction of free personal care for the

elderly, a major school building programme and education reforms.



The top press office role was created along with the post of head of new

media as part of a reshuffle last year that saw the scrapping of the

head of information role.



Following the restructure, PROs were given specialist areas in a move

designed to increase lines of communication with ministers.



The press post had been filled in the interim by Owen Kelly, who joined

in June 2000 on a 12-month placement.



Kelly left this summer to become director of properties at Historic

Scotland, which looks after more than 300 historic buildings, including

Edinburgh Castle.



Imrie has been with the civil service in Scotland since 1990, first at

the Scottish Office and then the executive.



During this time he worked for two years as Scotland's representative in

Brussels for government body UK Representation, which deals with energy

policies.



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