NEWS: Roberts out in Swalec PR cuts

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.

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

services wings.



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.’



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