World Online - the Dutch internet service provider facing legal challenges over its recent initital public offering - has taken on its first head of communications for the UK.
Nicola Hird joins from North West London Business Link and TEC, where she was head of a five-strong marketing and communications department.
Since the UK launch in October 1999, all World Online's PR has been handled by its marketing team and retained external agencies, Harvard and Edelman PR Worldwide.
Hird will review World Online's communications function, including the agency roster, with a view to developing an integrated communications programme. She reports to UK CEO Simon Preston.
'The PR and internal communications function is now being spun out of the marketing department, reflecting the importance of PR in terms of building brands,' said Hird.
Prior to her last position, Hird has worked at the Rowling Company, now rebranded as PR21, and Shandwick.
World Online made headlines earlier this year when its founder and chairman Nina Brink resigned amid allegations of selling shares before the flotation.
The company is currently in talks about a merger with Italian rival Tiscali.