Johnson’s former comms director Guto Harri has handed City Hall’s senior press officer Richard Brookes the task of heading up News International’s corporate affairs work.
It is the second time City Hall has been raided by Harri, director of comms at NI, after Sara Argent was poached last year to lead external affairs.
Brookes succeeds Daisy Dunlop, who is moving to New York next month to head strategy for the publishing spin-off from parent company News Corporation.
Dunlop will be vice-president, strategy and planning at the new group, which will house NI and retain the News Corp name after it splits with the broadcasting side of the business this summer.
Harri is thought to have been keen to bring Brookes into the team in a separate role before news emerged of Dunlop’s departure.
Harri said: ‘Richard is rock solid and very sure-footed when it comes to handling sensitive, often counter-intuitive briefs and being imaginative with them.’ NI, which also owns The Times, has been dogged by a series of arrests of former and current staff since revelations around malpractice at the News of the World broke in 2011.
Likening the revelations to a ‘bomb hitting’, Harri added: ‘It was very difficult for the company to do anything other than stay safe and sane but we’ve regained confidence as a company and have made a lot of changes. We increasingly want to let the world know about them.
‘Richard will be helping me tell the story of change at News International, and how the company has gone out of its way to identify, acknowledge and put right what went wrong in the past and ensure it can’t happen again.’