EDS hires RAC’s Hirst to government relations post

EDS, the IT outsourcing company, has poached RAC external affairs manager Sereena Hirst. The firm wants to boost its reputation in Whitehall in the quest for government contracts.

Hirst has joined in the newly created role of UK government relations manager, reporting to director of marketing and communications Malcolm George.

Last month the Texas-based company won alterations to contracts with the Department of Work and Pensions, estimated to be worth around £800m. The award came despite the fact EDS was the supplier behind the widely lampooned computer system for the Child Support Agency.

EDS has long been embroiled in a dispute with HM Revenue & Customs over a tax credit fiasco in 2003 that saw hundreds of thousands of people being paid benefits late.

Hirst will be expected to emphasise success stories such as EDS's role in leading the consortium behind the London Underground Oyster card. Hirst joined RAC 13 months ago from the NSPCC, where she was parliamentary adviser. Prior to that she was an education adviser to the Lib Dems.

EDS has also hired Lynette Crompton as internal comms manager from LondonLines, part of the National Express Group, where she worked in the press office.

'These appointments are aimed at expanding capacity during accelerated growth,' said George, who joined last year, having led Burson-Marsteller's PA practice (PRWeek, 9 April 2004).

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