Smiths Group merges PR and PA as comms chief Peter Durman departs for Imperial Tobacco

Global tech giant Smiths Group has amalgamated its comms and public affairs departments following the resignation of PR chief Peter Durman, who has been appointed director of investor relations at Imperial Tobacco.

Durman, who joined Smiths Group in 2008, will step down as investor relations and corporate comms director on 25 September.

His successor will be Andrew Lappin, currently director of government relations, in the new combined role of group director, corporate affairs. He will also join the executive committee at Smiths Group, a FTSE 100-listed company that employs more than 23,000 people in more than 50 countries.

Asked about the reason for combining the comms and corporate affairs functions, Durman told PRWeek it was largely due to the personnel changes.

He added: "[Lappin] knows the comms side well, he's an ideal candidate to head it up, so therefore it just makes sense to put it all together. There are benefits to having the public affairs team aligned with the communications team."

The change will also see the appointment of a new head of investor relations.

Smiths Group CEO Philip Bowman said: "I have very much enjoyed working with Peter, and the board is grateful for the significant contribution he has made in articulating the Smiths story to investors and other stakeholders over the past seven years.

"We are truly sorry to see Peter leave and wish him every success in his new role. I add my congratulations to Andrew who has worked closely with Peter for six years and is ideally placed to ensure a smooth handover and succession."

Durman’s departure follows that of finance director Peter Turner at the end of April. In a trading update issued yesterday, Smiths Group reported that revenue and operating profit fell slightly in the nine months to 2 May against the same period last year.

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