Scottish Executive begins trawl for press office head

The Scottish Executive this week launched its hunt for a press

office chief to replace the departing Owen Kelly.

The senior civil service communications post has been left vacant

following the departure of Kelly, who is moving to become director of

properties in care at Historic Scotland.

Kelly was brought in last year on a 12-month placement as the

executive's first press office chief.

His replacement will continue to report to Robert Gordon, head of the

executive secretariat.

The press office head role was created along with the post of head of

new media to replace the head of information role.

Kelly was charged with revamping the office. During the last year the

press office has increased by nine staff and restructured to give PROs

specialist areas.

This was a move designed to increase lines of communication with

ministers, according to Kelly.

He said: 'This job was for a year and now that time is up. During that

time the office has seen a lot of change. What we wanted to do was

assign more press officers to ministers, which is something that is

working well.'

Kelly's latest role at Historic Scotland includes heading PR for the

organisation, which looks after more than 300 historic buildings,

including Edinburgh Castle.

He replaces Brian Naylor, who is joining the troubled Scottish

Qualifications Authority, still recovering from last summer's exam

marking blunder that saw more than 6,000 Highers results fail to reach

candidates on time.

Other marks were incomplete and the debacle led to the resignation of

CEO Ron Tuck.

Kelly's previous roles include head of strategic communications for the

civil service in Scotland, a post he held in 1997.

Last October, Scotland's first minister Henry McLeish appointed former

Daily Mirror political editor Peter McMahon as his press secretary.

McMahon reports to McLeish rather than working through the press


Elsewhere within the Scottish civil service, the Ministry of Defence has

named Sara Reed as the country's first defence press officer.

Reed joins from Weber Shandwick Worldwide where she was a senior manager

in the Edinburgh office. In her latest role, she reports to MoD news

director Martin Howard.

Her appointment is part of a newly-created network of regional press

officers, established by the MoD to improve community links (PRWeek, 9


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