LONDON: Ian Wright, the long-serving corporate relations director at Diageo, will leave the company next year.
The drinks company has recruited Charlotte Lambkin, group communications director at BAE Systems, to take over for Wright. She is set to join in January 2014, and Wright will depart on March 31 after a handover period.
Wright has been corporate relations director at Diageo since 2004, joining the company from Boots in 2000. Previously, he worked in political communications roles for The SDP and the Liberal Democratic Party.
Lambkin, a former Bell Pottinger director, joined BAE in 2004. The aerospace firm is thought to have begun a search for Lambkin's replacement, considering both internal and external candidates.
Wright remained tight-lipped about his future plans, but shot down rumors that he was planning to return to politics.
“I am pursuing a couple of discussions I don't want to go into, but you can rule out speculation that I am going into politics to work for [Deputy Prime Minister] Nick Clegg,” he said. “It will in a very general sense involve PR, and I'd expect my next role will involve doing very much as I am now.”
Wright worked closely with Diageo CEO Paul Walsh, who handed over the reins to Ivan Menzes earlier this year. Wright said both his and Walsh's exit had been planned for two years.
“As far as I am concerned, [Lambkin] is taking over leadership of the best team in corporate affairs; she will start with a big advantage,” he added.
Lambkin, one of the highest-ranking in-house communicators, commented that she “joined BAE Systems for three years to gain some in-house experience and has been here ever since.”
“This is down to the great people I work with and the important work done by the company. However, it's time for a change, and when I got the call from Diageo, I couldn't turn them down,” she added.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.