Dewhurst quits Shandwick for senior BNFL PR position

Philip Dewhurst has resigned as Weber Shandwick UK CEO to become

group corporate affairs director at British Nuclear Fuels.



The UK's largest PR agency is on the hunt for a CEO following news that

Dewhurst quit on Tuesday, having accepted the BNFL role just hours

before.



As PRWeek went to press, staff and clients at the world's largest PR

network's UK arm were being informed of the boss's imminent

departure.



WSW European CEO Lutz Meyer said a successor would be appointed in time,

but until then, London practice heads would report to him. These are

Chris Genassi of corporate, Charles Lankester at financial, public

affairs' Colin Byrne, Tessa Curtis of broadcast and interactive and

technology's Kathy Pittham.



Industry sources suggested Dewhurst had been plotting an exit strategy

ever since missing out on the European job - which went to Germany CEO

Meyer - in the shake-up brought about by the merger last year of

Interpublic sisters Shandwick International and the Weber Group (PRWeek,

22 September 2000). Dewhurst denied this.



Dewhurst will remain at WSW for at least a month to execute a handover

of duties. Starting at BNFL on 17 April, he oversees 30 staff and

reports to chairman Hugh Collum - who interviewed him for the

board-level job.



The BNFL vacancy was created after long-time company PR chief Colin

Duncan decided to leave (PRWeek, 15 December 2000).



This latest job will see Dewhurst return to high-profile issues-based

PR. He was corporate affairs director at Railtrack for four years before

and after privatisation. Earlier in his career he headed public affairs

for the Chemical Industries Association.



Dewhurst is understood to have grown frustrated at the time spent on

management issues at WSW, and has grown keen to return to frontline

communications.



'Most of my career has been spent on complex issues. I look forward to

getting back to that sort of work,' he said.



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