Friends of the Earth last week launched an opportunistic PR push
aimed at bagging publicity from the appointment of BP's high-profile new
One of the most senior advisers in Downing Street, Anji Hunter left her
post as Tony Blair's director of government relations last week and is
to take three months gardening leave before starting at BP in
Within minutes of the announcement, FoE's comms team spotted the
implications of a closer link than ever being forged between an oil
giant and the heart of the Government.
Media co-ordinator Ian Wilmore and his three-strong press relations team
were discussing tactics to 'piggyback' on the story when a call came in
from the Press Association asking for FoE's opinion. The comment
featured in most of the next day's papers.
The broadcast element followed the next day when on the basis of the PA
copy, Radio 4's Today requested a spokesman for its important 7-8am
slot. FoE put up Tony Juniper, its former policy director, now director
He is set to take over running of the campaigning organisation in 2003,
upon the retirement of high-profile figurehead Charles Secrett.
Wilmore said: 'The key message for us was that there is nothing wrong in
principle with people going from the government's employ to that of the
private sector, but given the Government's recent poor green
credentials, it was a worry to see someone so important from Number 10
go into an organisation that had made great strides in awareness of
Hunter takes up the newly created comms director post to oversee issues
such as web development and internal communications. She will also take
charge of sponsorship, corporate brand management and major publications
including the annual report. The post incorporates parts of the role
filled by James Fair until his retirement last year.
BP sources were this week keen to clarify that her remit will not
include media relations, which will remain with vice-president and head
of media Roddy Kennedy. She also misses out on control of the company
investor relations strategy, which resides with head of IR Greg Coleman.
All three will report to group vice-president for corporate comms, Mark
Hunter is known as one of Blair's closest aides, having worked full-time
for him since he became Labour leader in 1994. The pair have known each
other since school and have remained close friends ever since.