WH Smith is reviewing the structure of its corporate affairs function and considering the option of abolishing the director's position.
The UK's largest magazine and book retailer, which made sales last year of more than pounds 3 billion, is yet to fill the vacant senior post following the departure last month of corporate affairs director Tim Blythe to Rolls-Royce (PR Week, 15 September).
The review is considering 'all options', including not replacing Blythe directly but splitting his role between the three posts which reported to him and allocating other members of the senior management team the task of overseeing them. These roles are government relations, the press office and the community affairs department. Investor relations comes under the group finance function.
Philippa Power, a part-time secondee from the company's retained corporate agency, Brunswick, said no decisions had yet been made as to what would happen next. But she confirmed that the 'entire structure' of corporate affairs may be subject to change.
The external consultancies on the firm's roster are not specifically being reviewed. GCI Jane Howard's work on consumer PR for the high street stores arm is not thought to be in jeopardy. This work is led by director Emma Cantrill who reports to consumer press officers Rachel Spackman and Victoria Seymour.
WH Smith uses a range of other PR agencies on a project basis.