Thames Water in comms cutback

Thames Water has axed its public affairs department and is scaling back on comms despite the battering its image has taken over leakage levels and hosepipe bans.

The UK's biggest water firm has made head of public affairs Kathryn Oakley redundant, along with the two other London-based PA staff and a Brussels representative. Oakley leaves on 29 September after eight years with the company.

Up to 13 jobs in its 64-strong external affairs department in Reading, overseen by external affairs and environment director Richard Aylard, are also under threat. It has kicked off a 90-day staff consultation
period, but will try to redeploy workers made redundant elsewhere in the firm.

The cutbacks follow the company's announcement last week that it plans to axe 1,200 jobs - one in five - in the next four years.

‘There will be a scaling down of external affairs,' head of comms Nick Tennant told PRWeek. He refused to comment on numbers but his and Aylard's jobs are understood to be safe. The cutbacks come as German parent RWE looks to sell the firm, valued at £7bn. Oakley was unavailable for comment.

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