National Opera loses director to equality group

The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission has appointed its first director of external affairs after an exhaustive search.

Mags Patten is expected to start the new job at the end of the month. She joins from the English National Opera, where she has been director of media and PR since late 2006.

Patten will be responsible for corporate comms, media relations, marketing, campaigns and relations with the Government and key stakeholders.

She will report directly to group director of comms Kamal Ahmed, who moved from The Observer last year (PRWeek, 19 October 2007). Ahmed, a former political editor at The Observer, was most recently executive editor, news, at the broadsheet.

Patten is a former chief publicity manager for Channel 4 and has also been publicity manager for BBC News.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the result of a merger of three government bodies, the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

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