PUBLIC SECT0R: Thahid quits BCC after PR advice snub

The British Chamber of Commerce's press chief Malik Thahid has quit amid a period of upheaval for the body.

Thahid, who had been with the BCC for 18 months, says he has quit because he, 'found it difficult constantly firefighting as a result of the management ignoring media relations advice.'

He added: 'It is vital in any organisation trying to sustain its profile that PR staff are listened to. Unfortunately in this case this did not happen and the consequences were self evident.'

It is thought he is particularly referring to a spate of negative publicity following the departure earlier this year of director-general David Lennan just days before the body's national conference.

He is also understood to be critical of the handling of the announcement of a number of redundancies last month. An insider said Thahid wanted to be, 'more open'.

Isabella Moore, newly appointed BCC president, said she, 'didn't want to go over the past' and that Thahid had done 'sterling work'.

Thahid was the BCC's only media relations professional. His role is now covered by College Hill Associates, hired on a retained basis two weeks ago.

The College Hill team is headed by director James Henderson who reports to Moore and temporary director-general David Frost.

The reorganisation follows pressure from members to improve its profile, influence among opinion formers as well as the communication between the BCC and individual chambers.

'The policy and representation side had lost its way,' Moore said.

The BCC's in-house policy team, headed by Sally Lowe will carry on handling lobbying.

Internal communications has been beefed up with the creation of a director of internal affairs post, which the BCC is now looking to fill.

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