Kimberly-Clark has poached IBM’s UK PR head Sarah Portway as its first
director of corporate communications.
Portway started work at the paper goods company this week, ending a
nine-year career at IBM.
Corporate affairs manager Martin Knight, one of IBM’s 25-strong
communications team, will replace her as UK communications director.
Portway’s job remit at Kimberly-Clark, which bought rival Scott Paper
for dollars 7.4 billion (pounds 4.8 billion) in January, encompasses
media, corporate and government relations.
She will also be responsible for communicating the new company’s
‘corporate strategy, values and principles’ across Europe, where it is
the market leader in toilet tissue.
PR for Kimberly-Clark, which owns Huggies nappies and the former Scott
brand Andrex, was previously managed solely by its PR agency Fleishman-
Portway said she had no plans to review PR agency relationships at the
moment. She also added it was too soon to say if she will hire
additional in-house PR staff.
Portway joined IBM in her native Australia as a senior policy adviser in
1987, and was promoted to corporate relations manager a year later.
In 1994 Portway arrived at IBM UK as corporate affairs director and was
promoted to the new position of UK communications director last July (PR
Week, 21 July 1995).
In June this year Portway launched a pan-European ‘corporate social
responsibility’ drive for IBM, designed to build projects with local
communities. But was keen to move on.
‘I’ve spent nine years with IBM,’ Portway said, ‘I wanted to put my
experience to use in another industry.’