American Express has drafted in its international government
affairs head, Jim Tobin, to take charge of European public affairs.
He replaces fellow American Sally Susman, who spent two-and-a-half years
as the European head before moving back to New York to become head of
international public affairs (PR Week, 30 May).
Tobin, currently based in the group’s New York headquarters, will arrive
in England to take up the role in mid-August.
In his new post he will head a European public affairs team of 14, and
will command a budget of up to pounds 2 million in media relations,
government affairs, internal communications, and sponsorship. Tobin will
report to Susman.
His remit covers three areas: consumer cards, travel, and merchant
services, each headed by a public affairs director.
The merchant services public affairs role was created earlier this year
when American Express poached BhS head of corporate communications Simon
Kleine. The expansion reflects the US credit card firm’s decision to
focus on building links with retailers.
Tobin will support American Express’ strategy to concentrate on around
25 key markets, while withdrawing from issuing cards directly to clients
in the remainder of the 52 countries it operates in.
The group is still searching for a replacement for Jane Drew, who was
public affairs director for consumer cards in Europe. She left to join
Fidelity Investments as head of UK media relations last month. An
internal appointment is likely, and Tobin will start the recruitment
process after he joins.