Barclay's James to lead Christie's global comms

Barclay's former head of corporate affairs Howell James has been appointed global head of corporate communications at Christie's, the top communications position at the auction house.

Barclay's former head of corporate affairs Howell James has been appointed global head of corporate communications at Christie's, the top communications position at the auction house.

James said he was stepping down from Barclay's in October after four and a half years at the bank without a job to go to.

In the new role at Christie's, he will replace Toby Usnik, who will become chief of corporate social responsibility and senior international director for the Americas. Based in London, James will take up the position at the beginning of January, reporting to Christie's CEO Steven Murphy.

“Communications is a vital part of the activities of any company, particularly here at Christie's,” said Murphy. “We are fortunate to have in [James] someone of great experience, with a strong reputation and relationships throughout the media and beyond, as well as an individual who has a genuine and long held interest in the arts.”

James' remit includes all communications activities and media relations for the auction house, with regional corporate communications heads reporting directly to him.

The 246-year-old auction house has offices in 32 countries, including 10 salesrooms and global headquarters in London.

James joined Barclay's in 2008 as the global financial crisis began to take effect. He told PRWeek: “I decided during the summer that, after four-and-a-half years, it was time to move on. I joined Barclays at the height of the financial crisis knowing it would be an adventure, and so it has proved.”

Previously, he was the Cabinet Office's permanent secretary for government communications. He was also a director and founding partner at Brown Lloyd James and political secretary to then-Prime Minister John Major. He has also held senior roles at Cable & Wireless and the BBC.

This article originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister title of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.

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