Following journalists’ criticism of its press relations service,
Microsoft is seeking non-PR professionals to man an in-house UK press
office to launch early next year.
The move is a joint initiative developed by Microsoft together with its
long-standing agency August.One Communications. The new set-up, which is
costing a ’significant six-figure sum’, will consist of spokespeople
empowered to talk on the record rather than press officers chasing
comments from senior figures.
Katie Kemp, president of August.One, said: ’We are looking at people
from a variety of backgrounds, PR experience is not a prerequisite, only
that they are articulate and can talk strategy.’
The press office will move from August.One to Microsoft’s UK head office
in Reading. The office will consist of a team of six headed by
Microsoft’s in-house PR business manager David Gregory. The remainder of
the team will consist of specialist spokespeople for corporate, consumer
and products as well as an on-line press officer and a co-ordinator.
With the exception of Gregory everyone else will be an August.One
employee contracted to Microsoft. Gregory reports to Microsoft group PR
manager Karen Bergin.
The old Microsoft press office was headed by August. One associate
director Ginni Arnold who will continue to work on other parts of the
Microsoft account. August.One manages consumer and corporate accounts