Huw Roberts, director of public affairs at South Wales Electricity
(Swalec) has been ousted following the acquisition of the company by
Welsh Water in January.
Roberts, who has held the post for four years and was head of media
relations at ITN before that, is due to leave Swalec at the beginning of
April and will not be replaced. It is unclear whether he has plans to
take up another PR job elsewhere.
Prior to Welsh Water’s pounds 872 million agreed takeover, Swalec
maintained a public relations team of eight staff with responsibility
for media relations, events and sponsorship. Investor relations work was
outsourced to the company’s retained PR adviser Citigate Communications.
Since the takeover, however, Swalec has become the electricity supply
arm of an enlarged Welsh Water along with Dwr Cymru, its water and
sewage business, and three other industrial, engineering, investment and
Jeff Hockey, Swalec’s public affairs manager for the past 17 years, is
also leaving at the end of April. Reporting directly to Roberts, Hockey
ran Swalec’s 24-hour media service on a day-to-day basis, assisted by
three other press officers.
Welsh Water’s head of corporate affairs Brian Roussel said that Swalec’s
public relations department would probably be reduced to just three or
four staff to handle press enquiries for electricity supply operations.
Media relations, corporate positioning, investor relations and internal
communications for the group as a whole continue to be the
responsibility of Welsh Water’s six-strong PR department under Roussel.
‘Basically Swalec was a publicly quoted company on the Stock Exchange
with a need for corporate affairs support,’ said Roussel. ‘Since we have
acquired the company there is no need to duplicate those functions or to
have such a large team.’