Centrica’s Lewis fills Vodafone comms role

Vodafone has poached Centrica PR chief and the Queen’s former comms secretary Simon Lewis for the role of group director of corporate affairs as CEO Arun Sarin seeks to make his mark on the company.

Lewis will join before the end of the year, replacing Tim Brown, who quit three weeks ago (PRWeek, 24 September). But unlike Brown, Lewis will be a member of Vodafone’s executive committee.

Lewis said he would look at ‘all aspects’ of Vodafone’s comms activity and declined to rule out a review of the firm’s agency relationships.

According to sources close to the company, Vodafone will use Lewis’s connections to help Sarin network with the City, the Government and Buckingham Palace.

Lewis is the brother of The Sunday Times business editor William Lewis.

Sarin has already sought to charm investors with a plan to return cash to shareholders after freeing up £2.5bn.

Lewis joined British Gas in 1996 as director of corporate affairs and continued in the role at Centrica after the demerger in 1997.

He was the first comms secretary to the Queen between 1998 and 2000 before returning to Centrica as Europe MD.

His return to Centrica’s top PR role and the consequent departure of incumbent Charles Naylor took place just four months ago.

Centrica has not found a replacement for Lewis and would not comment on the recruitment process.

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