PR Rundown, 4.29.2015: Al Jazeera comms EVP Bridges departs amid lawsuit

Comms EVP Dawn Bridges leaves Al Jazeera America; Indiana Gov. Pence appoints new deputy chief of staff for comms; WPP invests in Refinery29.

Dawn Bridges
Dawn Bridges

Dawn Bridges, EVP of corporate communications at Al Jazeera America, is leaving the network along with EVP of human resources Diana Lee. The company said in a statement that the two executives were departing because their jobs were "extremely time consuming" and they wanted to change their "work/life mix." Al Jazeera America is facing a $15 million lawsuit from a former employee who claims a manager discriminated against female employees and made disparaging remarks about Jews and Israel.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has appointed Koch Industries communications director Matt Lloyd as deputy chief of staff for communications and strategies. Lloyd, who is currently based in Washington, DC, will start in late May.

Lloyd will replace Christy Denault, who resigned earlier this month amidst controversy surrounding Indiana’s ‘religious freedom’ law. He previously served as communications director on Pence’s congressional staff for 10 years, as well as in the top comms role for the governor when he was chairman of the House Republican Conference and House Republican Study Committee. Lloyd was also senior advisor to Pence’s gubernatorial campaign.

WPP has invested in fashion and lifestyle website Refinery29. The investment was made through Silicon Valley-based WPP Ventures, in partnership with Scripps Networks Interactive. Launched in 2005, Refinery29 is aimed at Millennial women in the US and has a following of 25 million monthly unique viewers. WPP has previously invested in other digital content companies such as VICE, China Media Capital, and Indigenous Media.

Sopexa Group, a marketing agency for food, beverage, and lifestyle brands, has hired Benjamin Bourinat as director of PR in the US. Bourinat will help develop PR and social media campaigns, as well as strategic partnerships and integrations for clients. He was previously manager of corporate communications at Omnicom.

UK-based Red Lorry Yellow Lorry has expanded its PR team in Boston with the hiring of Michelle Barry as director of technology PR and Justin Ordman as technology PR account manager. Headquartered in London, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry focuses on tech PR and content creation with clients including BBC Studios, eBay, and Aspera (IBM).

Communications agency Aspectus PR has appointed Jed Hamilton as MD for North America. Hamilton has nearly 20 years of marcomms experience in the financial and technology sectors.

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