Scottish Enterprise enlists Catholic Church’s PR boss

The Catholic Church of England and Wales’s communications director Mark Morley has quit to join beleaguered economic development body Scottish Enterprise.

Although Morley said the motivation for his departure was to relocate to his native Scotland, it is understood he had become disillusioned with his role with the church.

He joined two years ago as the church’s first comms director (PRWeek, 10 August 2001). During his time, he created the first comms directorate, oversaw redundancies from the previous PR set-up and handled heavy criticism in the media about alleged cover-ups of paedophile activity.

A source close to Morley said he had ‘had enough’ and ‘had taken the job as far as it could go’. A decision on whether he will be directly replaced has not yet been taken.

Morley’s travails at the church will allow him to bring valuable experience to Scottish Enterprise, which, like the church, has been at the sharp end of media criticism, if for different reasons.

The criticism, from politicians and media alike, has centred on how the body is spending its annual £450m budget. Earlier this year, the body slashed its external PR agency spend from £1.3m to £900,000, following criticism from Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament, among others.

Scottish Enterprise CEO Robert Crawford cited media criticism as a factor behind his departure earlier this year.

Morley has been recruited as network PR manager to oversee co-ordination with the body’s external agencies, including Weber Shandwick, where he worked before joining the church.

At Scottish Enterprise, he reports to press office manager Marian Ballantyne, who said his experience as a manager was the main reason for the hire, rather than his issues-management experience.

Morley, who will leave the church next month and take up his new role no later than the start of next year, said: ‘I’m looking forward to getting to know the journalists in the Scottish business sector to learn about their concerns.’

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