The biggest public sector PR job has become available following the news Howell James is quitting after four years. As revealed on prweek.com (10 June), James has been appointed corporate affairs director at Barclays.
Whitehall insiders said there would be no shortage of potential applicants to replace James at the Cabinet Office. Three frontrunners are thought to be Department of Health director general of comms Sian Jarvis, HM Revenue & Customs director of comms Simon MacDowall and Foreign and Commonwealth Office comms director Lucian Hudson.
James, formerly prime minister John Major's political secretary, surprised many by announcing his resignation from the Cabinet Office this week.
Hudson said: ‘Howell got comms people represented at the top table in government and helped bring in a new generation of comms directors.'
James started the role in 2004, having previously worked at both Cable & Wireless and the BBC.
Although he does not start at Barclays until September, James will leave government this Friday as he is subject to ‘business appointment rules'.
At Barclays, James replaces Stephen Whitehead, who left in December to join Prudential as group comms director.
-- Meanwhile, Audit Commission comms chief Jenny Grey joins the Cabinet Office as comms director in July.