Virgin Atlantic comms boss Paul Charles takes senior role at Lewis PR

Paul Charles to leave airline to become chief operating officer at under-pressure PR firm.

Moving on: Paul Charles
Moving on: Paul Charles

Virgin Atlantic communications director Paul Charles is quitting the airline to take up a senior management role at beleaguered Lewis PR.

Charles has overseen communications at Richard Branson's airline for more than three years, masterminding the recent 'Still Red Hot' 25th anniversary campaign.

He will now become chief operating officer at Lewis PR, as the technology-focused agency seeks to recover from a recent exodus of senior staff.

The new role is understood to have been created especially for Charles, who is a former PRWeek PR Professional of the Year.

'I don't think there is a better PR job than comms director at Virgin Atlantic and working with Richard Branson,' said Charles.

'But I want to be a chief executive. The inevitable next step is to go into a management role to widen my skills, so becoming a chief operating officer is a natural step.'

Charles will leave Virgin Atlantic in December and take up his new position in January. He will be based at the agency's Millbank HQ and will report to founder Chris Lewis.

The role will involve international travel to Lewis PR's 38 offices around the world.

Lewis PR is an agency that Charles knows well, having been a non-executive director for the company for the past four years.

But the highly regarded Virgin comms chief will have a challenge on his hands when he starts at Lewis.

Over the past four months, the agency's UK operating board has been depleted by an exodus of senior staff, including creative director Jon Silk and director of media strategy Will Sturgeon.

Virgin Atlantic is already on the hunt for Charles' successor. A decision is expected in the next few weeks.

 

CHARLES' CV

2006: Comms director, Virgin Atlantic

2005: Non-executive director, Lewis PR

2003: Director of comms, Eurostar

2001: Head of comms, Misys Group

2000: Editor-in-chief, Screentrade

1993: Presenter and reporter, BBC News

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