Jarvis hires John Major’s PR chief to rebuild image

Infrastructure services giant Jarvis has hired John Major’s former press secretary, Jonathan Haslam, to help rebuild its battered reputation.

Haslam, who takes the role of group director of communications, said he expected to join in around two months from the London Metal Exchange (LME), where he has been corporate affairs director for six years.

Jarvis – the firm in charge of track maintenance at the time of last year’s Potters Bar rail crash, in which four people died – announced it was pulling out of its rail maintenance contracts, reportedly worth £180m a year, a fortnight ago, citing ‘reputational issues’ as a key factor. It is now seeking to better promote its role in areas such as school facilities management.

Haslam described the move as a ‘sensible business decision’, but said it would be ‘foolhardy’ to spell out what he saw as Jarvis’s PR priorities before starting in the role.

Jarvis uses Luther Pendragon for corporate PR and issues management, Tulchan Communications for financial PR (PRWeek, 22 August) and Media Strategy for public affairs.

Haslam said he was ‘looking forward to having constructive discussions’ with all three agencies about Jarvis’s PR agency needs.

Haslam replaces Richard Emmott, who joined insurer Royal & SunAlliance as director of corporate comms in June (PRWeek, 27 June).

Haslam joined the LME a year after a multi-million pound fraud involving a copper trader from Sumitomo Corporation was uncovered.

He said re-establishing the LME’s reputation in the wake of that scandal had been a key PR challenge.

Haslam was chief press secretary to the former Prime Minister in the run-up to the 1997 general election.

Metronet, the consortium that oversees the maintenance of London Underground track at Barons Court, where last week’s derailment occurred, has hired Cheryl Eaton as employee comms manager.

Eaton is currently head of press and publicity at construction services firm Skanska. She joins next month, reporting to Metronet comms director Paul Emberley.

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