Doherty to replace McCall as BT group director of PR

British Telecommunications has named James Doherty as its group

director of PR following Brenda McCall's resignation.

Doherty takes on the role from McCall, who left last month after 23

years with BT (PRWeek, 2 March).

He joins from BT Openworld's joint venture in Australia - BT Looksmart -

for which he has acted as vice-president (marketing) since last


In his latest role, Doherty will take charge of a 25-stong team and

report directly to group communications director Robin Pauley.

The remit covers PR for the entire group, in the UK and overseas,

including its recently-created divisions, such as BT Ignite, BT

Openworld, BT Wireless, and Yell.

Doherty said a large part of his remit will be to help turn around BT's

ailing image in the media and 'refresh the communications


'While I am moving into Brenda's areas of responsibility, the brief is

evolving with a view to getting out and communicating as clearly as we


My new role is very much about communicating the real value of BT -

that's to the shareholders, consumers and all the other constituencies -

demonstrating our real value in real terms,' said Doherty.

He added: 'The challenge is to ensure people have a much better

understanding of what we do and are capable of.'

Previously, Doherty worked for Ogilvy PR Worldwide in the US as senior

vice-president of its technology practice, working with clients such as


Prior to Ogilvy, Doherty developed integrated marketing strategies for

consultancy programmes at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

Meanwhile, BT is continuing its search for a head of UK PR, which was

left vacant when Tim Johns was promoted to director of media relations

in February.

The troubled telecoms giant has also bolstered its group press office


Mike Bartlett joins from bus industry body, the Confederation of

Passenger Transport, alongside Ross Cook, a former Millennium Dome


Former BT regional media relations manager Roger Westbury has also taken

on the role of international press officer.

BT recently appointed Sir Christopher Bland as chairman to replace Sir

Iain Vallance, who stepped down last week.

The company - which has a market value of pounds 38bn - is working to

reduce its pounds 30bn debt mountain. It plans to cut the debt by pounds

10bn this year.

BT announced last week it was hoping to raise more than pounds 5bn from

a range of disposals.

It also recently sold its stake in Malaysian mobile phone operator Maxis

Communications for pounds 350m.

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