Paddy Power hires ex-Jeremy Hunt spad Adam Smith

A former special adviser who resigned over links to the Murdoch empire has been handed a key public affairs role at Paddy Power.

Paddy Power: Bolstering corporate clout
Paddy Power: Bolstering corporate clout

Adam Smith was brought in as head of external comms last week as part of the bookmaker's drive to strengthen its regulatory and governmental affairs firepower.

Smith quit his former role for ex-Department for Culture, Media and Sport minister Jeremy Hunt last year during the Leveson Inquiry, at which he subsequently gave evidence.

His departure was prompted by accusations that he had developed too close a relationship with News Corporation and its public affairs director Fred Michel as the company bid for ownership of BSkyB.

Leveson found that Smith "was diligent … to a fault" before the bid, but he subsequently "got way too close" to Michel, including "probably passing on confidential government thinking".

In his new role he reports to former Brunswick partner Catherine Colloms, hired in January, as part of a new corporate in-house team set to be further bolstered in the coming months.

The attempt to boost corporate clout comes as the bookmaker, well known for its publicity stunts, looks to have a greater say in regulatory affairs.

Last month, PRWeek revealed that Paddy Power had hired RLM Finsbury for a brief drawing together corporate and public affairs and City PR work.

Colloms said that Smith, who was most recently studying for a masters degree, "brings a wealth of experience and expertise from operating in Westminster and Whitehall".

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