First Direct wraps up PR restructure with two new hires

Branchless banking giant First Direct has completed an in-house PR restructure with the recruitment of two media relations managers.

Ptarmigan Consultants consultant Alison McMinn joined last week and Consumers’ Association assistant media relations officer David Whitely will join next week to complete a three-strong media relations unit.

The pair report to PR head Annette Spencer, who said the hires had been triggered by the departure of Sarah Davies on maternity leave and the move of Emma Radcliffe to the marketing department.

First Direct retained Band & Brown Communications until the end of last year, but is currently without a retained consumer PR agency.

Spencer said: ‘I want to see what we can do with an in-house team,’ but added project PR work may be up for grabs for agencies ‘later in the year’.

Whitely joined the Consumers’ Association in January 2000 from a job as a journalist for Rural Press Regional Media in Perth, Australia.

He is the latest departure from the Consumers’ Association media team, which is currently headed by senior PRO Anna Butterworth.

Butterworth has replaced Marcus Rand, who left in April to join the British Wind Energy Association as CEO (PRWeek, 28 March). This coincided with the departure of campaigns and comms director Allan Asher, who has since joined Energywatch as CEO (PRWeek, 25 April).

Butterworth said appointments to both Rand and Asher’s posts were ‘imminent’, and a search to fill Whitely’s role was already underway.

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