May joins Reed Elsevier to direct global corp comms

Publishing giant Reed Elsevier has taken on former Luther Pendragon

partner Catherine May as its first global corporate communications

director.



May, who left Luther last year (PRWeek, 27 July 2000), joins Reed with a

remit to boost external and internal communications for the firm

worldwide.



She will oversee PR for the public company, while existing teams head

communications for Reed's subsidiary groups.



Reed Elsevier CEO Crispin Davis, who joined 18 months ago, made the

decision to appoint a corporate communications chief as part of his

strategy for the firm.



'I hope to be able to forge stronger links between the different areas

of the company and open up a two-way interaction between the groups,'

said May.



'The CEO wants the company to undertake more external communications

programmes, and I'll be closely working with him to go to the media and

other audiences and develop their understanding of the depth and breadth

of the group.'



May confirmed she has no immediate plans to review the firm's

relationship with incumbent agency Brunswick.



Reporting directly to Davis, May is supported by deputy director of

corporate communications Susanna Smart.



According to Smart, part of Davis' company strategy has been to expand

overseas and therefore more corporate PR support was needed, with

emphasis on the US.



In the US, Reed has made a proposed acquisition for Harcourt General's

scientific, technical and medical business and US schools education and

testing businesses for pounds 3.1bn and the assumption of nearly pounds

1bn of debt.



Last month, Davis also announced a significant investment programme, of

which over 90 per cent will be internet-related.



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