DTi takes ex-Labour activist for news role

The Department of Trade and Industry has finally found a replacement for Matt Tee as director of news, six months after his departure.

The Department of Trade and Industry has finally found a replacement for Matt Tee as director of news, six months after his departure.

As part of a raft of senior PR staff moves at the DTi, the department has appointed Iain Hepplewhite, a Labour party activist-turned-civil servant, to the post.

Hepplewhite is a straight replacement for Tee, who left the Government Information and Communication Service in March to be communications director at the Government's newly-created health watchdog, the Commission for Health Improvement.

Although Tee had two deputies at the DTi - Colin Seabrook and Mike Snowdon - neither is thought to have applied for the job Hepplewhite has now landed.

Hepplewhite joins the DTi from the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

He has spent the last two years there as head of news and deputy director of strategy and communications. Prior to that, he was an account director at public affairs shop Citigate Westminster for a year. He spent three years as press officer for the parliamentary Labour party before joining Citigate. His career in PR started as a press officer at Lewisham council in the 1980s.

In his new role, Hepplewhite will have reponsibility for the entire departmental news function. Publicity and internal communications form a separate directorate with which Hepplewhite is expected to work closely.

Elsewhere in the department - which is split along ministerial lines with a senior information officer and a clutch of press officers allocated to each ministerial desk - there has been a batch of other changes.

Richard King, who ran the central desk covering secretary of state Stephen Byers's personal PR and general departmental communication issues, has left to join the Treasury as a senior press officer.

King has been replaced by Graham Capper who was formerly the senior information officer on the energy desk, handling press relations for energy minister Helen Liddell.

That post has now been filled by another senior information officer, Caroline Faley. She will also retain her previous responsibilities on the trade desk, which include handling PR for trade minister Richard Caborn.



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