Ex-Channel 4 PR chief Matt Baker returns to industry as head of media at Oxfam

Matt Baker, former head of PR at Channel 4, has been recruited as acting head of media at Oxfam.

Matt Baker: acting head of media at Oxfam
Matt Baker: acting head of media at Oxfam
He joins the charity on a maternity cover contract ahead of the temporary departure of current head of media Jen Corlew at the end of September.

Baker, who spent 12 years at Channel 4 before stepping down last summer, said the charity was an ideal place to launch his return to the industry after taking time off to pursue freelance writing projects.

‘I decided to get back into the business and this opportunity came up,’ he told PRWeek.

‘I’ve been looking for a change of sector and Oxfam is a fantastic brand in a very interesting sector so it’s going to be a hugely interesting brief.’

Baker said he did not consider his new role to be that far removed from his position at the broadcaster.

‘Obviously television and international aid aren’t necessarily immediate bedfellows,’ he said. ‘But I did a lot of work at Channel 4 around issues arising out of programming so I think it’ll be a similar task at Oxfam in terms of dealing with issues that arise out of our activities.’

The most notable comms crisis faced by the channel while Baker was at the helm was the Big Brother ‘racism row’ in 2007, which spiralled into a major international story and hit headlines around the world.

Baker will head up a dozen staff at Oxfam’s media unit, which focuses on campaigns, advocacy and humanitarianism. He will lead the response to emergency situations, long-term development work and communications around the charity’s media activity.

He called his first charity role ‘a bit of an experiment’ but said that he expected to remain in the voluntary sector for the foreseeable future.

He will report to Oxfam’s director of communications, Thomas Schultz-Jagow.

Baker left Channel 4 amid comms department restructuring plans put in place by newly appointed CEO David Abraham which resulted in cutting its senior management team by 25 per cent.

In June, Channel 4 promoted Jane Fletcher to the role of controller of press and publicity, and last month named Sophie Jones as head of corporate relations.

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