Marks and Spencer’s corporate media team has hired staff from
outside the company for the first time, following a review of operations
and a tough year of firefighting.
The retailer had always promoted from within, training people to become
corporate press officers. M&S has a company-wide tradition of nurturing
its own senior managers.
The two new recruits are Louis Hill, who joined this week from Cohn and
Wolfe, and Victoria Molyneux, who comes on board next week from
Safeway’s press office.
Their arrival boosts the headcount in the corporate PR team - which
receives up to 600 calls a week - to six. The team’s manager, Jane Lowe,
went into other retailers to see how they handled their PR before
deciding to get outsiders on board.
She said: ’We have had a lot more inquiries and have been trying to get
more proactive stories out. The only way was to get more people in.’
The retailer uses a raft of PR agencies for various tasks. Brunswick
handles financial issues and has recently helped with crisis PR.
Staniforth PR, Harrison Cowley, Anderson Kenny and James Harbison and Co
work on regional tasks across M&S’s three divisions: corporate, general
merchandise and home products.