OFT in shake-up as Ricketts steps down

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is on the hunt for a PR supremo to replace government comms veteran Mike Ricketts, who retired from the watchdog last week.

Ricketts has left the high-profile body after five years as director of comms.

The OFT has reshaped his position's remit, with the new appointee set to take up a more ‘strategic' role. The postholder will also be supported by a new deputy director of comms.

The body wants to be seen as more proactive, rather than one that merely reacts to complaints. Its comms team also wants to consider more effective ways to reach target audiences, rather than relying on traditional routes such as the business media.

Recruitment for the new deputy role will get under way later this year. Whoever takes the job will have day-to-day control of the 35-strong comms team. ‘One of the challenges for the OFT is to ensure media and the public know what it does because there are a number of responsibilities that are very complex to communicate,' said Ricketts.

The OFT's profile has increased over recent years as it has gained extra powers, in particular via the Competition Act, which was implemented in 2000, and the 2003 Enterprise Act.

OFT head of publicity Sue Cook is now acting communications director at the watchdog, while its head of news remains Terence Gibbons. 

Prior to the OFT, Ricketts held roles including deputy head of news at the Department for Transport, and head of news at the Department for Trade and Industry.

He was also head of the Y2K information unit (set up to cope with fears over the ‘millennium bug'). He founded the communications team at the Greater London Authority before joining the OFT.

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