LONDON: British Airways director of communications Simon Walker has left his post for a two-year stint at Buckingham Palace, leaving the airline scrambling to find a replacement.
LONDON: British Airways director of communications Simon Walker has
left his post for a two-year stint at Buckingham Palace, leaving the
airline scrambling to find a replacement.
Walker will join the Palace in September as communications secretary to
the Royal Family. He is slated to lead a 10-strong team responsible for
handling PR for all of the immediate royal family except Prince Charles,
who has a separate press team at St. James Palace. Walker’s royal-family
stint will last just over two years, culminating with the celebrations
for the Queen’s golden jubilee in 2002.
’I have a lot to learn about my new role,’ he admitted. To that end, he
is currently arranging a series of meetings with Court correspondents
and staff from the royal household.
While British Airways has publicly stated that the search for Walker’s
successor is in its infancy, the airline is thought to be looking at
external candidates to fill the post - considered one of the most
prestigious in European corporate PR.
Walker’s close relationship with recently ousted CEO Bob Ayling has led
to speculation that successor Rod Eddington, an Australian, would hire
one of his close advisors for the communications director slot. However,
Eddington is reportedly placing great emphasis on contacts with the UK
media and is thus unlikely to hire an outsider.
Walker’s career began in New Zealand as a TV reporter for TVNZ. He went
on to work as director of communications for the country’s Labour party
and, shortly thereafter, set up his own PR and lobbying shop,
Formerly a partner at PR agency Brunswick, Walker worked on the firm’s
British Airways account before joining the airline in 1998. At
Buckingham Palace, he replaces Simon Lewis, who returns next month to