APCO woos Murphy back from job at AstraZeneca

APCO is bringing back Darren Murphy to head its UK public affairs operation following the resignation of UK MD Simon Miller.

Miller is understood to have handed in his resignation last week, making him the fourth senior figure to quit the agency this year.

He joined APCO three years ago from Hill & Knowlton, where he was a board director (PRWeek, 30 April 2004). Miller was unavailable for comment and it is not known whether he has another job lined up.

APCO’s EMEA chief exe­cutive Brad Staples said Miller would leave the agency on 29 July. He insisted that Miller had left of his own ­volition and added that he had ‘stewarded the business very successfully’.

Murphy is expected to take over at APCO later this year, once he has negotiated his leave period from AstraZeneca, which he joined just a few months ago as head of government relations and external affairs (PRWeek, 2 February).

He first joined APCO ­almost two years ago as one of five directors in its ­London office (PRWeek, 2 September 2005).

Before APCO, Murphy worked at Number 10 for three years, as assistant political secretary to the former prime minister, Tony Blair, and then as Blair’s special adviser for political communications.

Staples said Murphy had ‘the experience and the understanding APCO needs’.

The past few months have been turbulent for APCO. After Murphy’s departure in February, associate manager Andrew Escott – a former PRWeek Young PR Professional of the Year finalist – left to become head of commercial relations at the NHS Confederation. More recently, APCO director Nick Sutcliffe quit the agency and is understood to be trying to set up his own PA consultancy.

Earlier this year, APCO won accounts with FTSE 100 mining group Anglo-American and waste management firm SITA.

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