One NorthEast creates key role to focus local strategy

Regional development agency One NorthEast has recruited Northumberland County Council PR head Stacy Hall as its first director of communications.

Hall joins in February in a role created to boost communications efforts for the agency, whose geographical span encompasses Northumberland, Sunderland and Newcastle upon Tyne.

The role carries top-table status as part of a six-strong management team, with Hall reporting to chief executive Alan Clarke and overseeing the work of the agency’s 16 communications staff.

Senior press and PR executive Abi Kelly said Clarke and the senior management had created a PR role at this level because they see communications, particularly with local stakeholders, as vital to the agency’s work co-ordinating regional-level strategy in areas such as regeneration.

The previous most senior PR role was held by head of press and PR Janice Gibbon.

Kelly said another factor boosting communications was the added role given to regional development agencies by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport earlier this year to co-ordinate regional-level strategy for tourism.

A key priority for Hall will be to carry out a review of all communications activity. Kelly said this would include reviewing the need for external support. One NorthEast currently uses one PR agency, Newcastle-based Gardiner Richardson, which is handling promotion of a consultation with stakeholders called Strategic Futures.

Hall also oversees the Centres of Excellence project, which earmarks specific industries for growth, including life sciences and new and renewable energy.

At Northumberland County Council, Hall, who has the title head of communications and marketing, heads a team of 20. Prior to joining the council she was marketing manager at Newcastle’s International Centre for Life.

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