BBC's Paul Mylrea exits to Cambridge University comms role

The University of Cambridge has appointed the BBC's director of public affairs Paul Mylrea as its director of comms.

Paul Mylrea: Leaving the BBC
Paul Mylrea: Leaving the BBC

In February, shortly after the hiring of former Labour minister James Purnell to oversee comms and strategy, it emerged that Mylrea was to depart the corporation later this year.

The management shake-up, which also saw Julian Payne made interim director of comms, came in the wake of the criticism over the broadcaster's handling of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Mylrea will join the university in the early autumn and replaces Stephen Jolly, who was hired in December to lead comms at the Ministry of Defence.

Speaking of the appointment the vice-chancellor, professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, said: ‘This is an exciting time for Cambridge, as the university continues to strengthen its research, extends its global reach and embarks on the largest physical expansion in its history. Excellence in communication plays a vital role in supporting these activities, and informing and engaging a range of core audiences in them.

'For all those reasons, I am delighted that we have secured the services of Paul Mylrea. Paul’s deep and broad experience of strategic communications will be invaluable to the university, and I greatly look forward to welcoming him to Cambridge.’

Mylrea began his career as a journalist on regional newspapers before joining Reuters, where, over a 20-year period, he reported from more than 30 countries.

As head of media for Oxfam GB he was responsible for the day-to-day management of the UK-based media team and strategic development of the charity’s worldwide external communications.

As director of group media relations for Transport for London, he led the communications response to the 7 July bombings, for which his team won the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Crisis Communications Award.

In 2007 he moved to become comms director of the Department for International Development, where he helped raise the profile of Britain’s international aid efforts and built an innovative digital engagement team.

After joining the BBC as head of press and media relations, he became director of comms in 2011. His role changed to director of public affairs last autumn.

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