'I'll always be a friend of Israel', says outgoing external affairs chief at Jewish Leadership Council

Senior comms professional Bernard Hughes, who has worked in public affairs for Tesco, Walmart and Edelman for more than 25 years, is to step down from his role as director of external affairs at the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC).

Bernard Hughes will leave his role as head of external affairs at the Jewish Leadership Council in September
Bernard Hughes will leave his role as head of external affairs at the Jewish Leadership Council in September

Hughes, whose previous roles have included being first head of public affairs for Tesco, head of public affairs for Walmart in Europe, and a director at Edelman, will leave his post at the JLC in September.

His departure is due to having created an external affairs division at the organisation earlier than expected, according to the JLC.

The division, which consists of eight members of staff, was scheduled to have been set up by the end of this year.

In a statement to PRWeek, the JLC said: "Having set up the external affairs division of the JLC ahead of schedule, Bernard is leaving to pursue other interests. During his time at the JLC, Bernard implemented the structure set out by the Trustees, laying down firm foundations to deliver the JLC’s regional, campaigning and digital strategy."

Simon Johnson, JLC chief executive, said: "Bernard has recruited and led a first-class team, who have transformed the Community’s stakeholder engagement around the country and have instituted campaigns and overseen the growth of our digital and stakeholder strategy. He has been a great colleague and partner, whose passion and enthusiasm has shone through. He has much to be proud of. We wish him well."

And Conservative peer Lord Finkelstein, a vice-president of the JLC, paid tribute to the public affairs veteran: "We will miss Bernard as he’s got a very good strategic brain. He is always thinking one or two steps ahead on politics. It’s been very helpful to have some new creative thinking, given the serious political challenges the community now faces."

Prior to joining the JLC in 2015, Hughes was director of communications for the Green Deal Finance Company.

Commenting on his decision to leave his current post, he said: "It has been a huge honour to have worked with the JLC during some very challenging times for the community. I have worked with an incredibly talented group of people. The JLC brings people together and does that in a very thoughtful and professional way. I will always be a friend to the community and to Israel."

Asked if Hughes will be replaced, a JLC spokesman told PRWeek: "Not at this time."

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