HOUSTON: Enron's longsuffering MD of corporate communications Mark Palmer is leaving to head Public Strategies' media relations practice."I was attracted to them because I've had a real interest in public policy work since I came to Enron and worked on electricity deregulation," Palmer said. Effective Monday, Palmer becomes an MD at Public Strategies, joining a powerhouse team that also includes President Bush's former media director Mark McKinnon and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards (D). Public Strategies recently reorganized itself into campaign, government relations, media relations, research, marketing, and creative services practice groups. MD Julia Southerland temporarily headed media relations while the agency looked for a permanent leader, said Palmer, who will work from Houston for the Austin-based public affairs firm. His group will provide communications consulting aimed at internal audiences and other stakeholders, as well as media relations, he added. Palmer's inevitable departure comes as Enron spins off its viable units into standalone businesses and distributes its remaining assets among creditors, a process that may still take a couple of years. PR VP Karen Denne will take over the communications reins at Enron.