Sharon Sawers, who takes up her role in January, will join the Cabinet Office from the Home Office, where she was head of marketing, strategic comms and insight for more than 12 years.
Before working in government, she worked for several agencies, including Publicis-owned data specialist Zenith Media and ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, where she held strategic planning roles.
Sawers, who studied economics and social history at the University of York, also worked as a media manager for marketing analytics firm Billetts, now known as Ebiquity.
During her time at the Home Office, Sawers led on major campaigns, including the multi award-winning drug advice helpline ‘Talk to FRANK’ , as well as ‘Modern Slavery’ and ‘Crime Reduction’.
Talk to FRANK has previously been credited with achieving brand awareness of 90 per cent and high trust levels among the target demographic of 11-to 18-year-olds, compared with 19 per cent for the former National Drugs Helpline.
The campaign won gold and grand prix Media Week awards in 2007 and went on to a health website of the year award in 2010, among others.
At the Cabinet Office, Sawers will lead a team of about 30 people across campaigns, press, internal and cross-civil service comms.
She will also assist Theresa May’s deputy, Damian Green, the First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, his junior ministers and Britain’s most senior civil servant, Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, in delivering their objectives.
Commenting on her new role, Sawers said: "The Cabinet Office is renowned for driving up professional standards across the public sector and I am really looking forward to working at the heart of Government.
It's a great privilege to be part of a team responsible for delivering the PM's priorities and helping to build a Britain fit for the future."
Among the priorities at the Cabinet Office under Sawer’s watch will be a need to drive efficiencies and reforms that make the government work more effectively, and to create a more united democracy, against the backdrop of ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Sawers replaces James Roscoe, who left the Cabinet Office in September to become director of comms at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU).
Thanking Roscoe and commenting on Sawers’ appointment, Alex Aiken, executive director of Government Communication, said: "I’m delighted that Sharon will be joining the Cabinet Office…[she] brings tremendous professional expertise and a record of successful leadership. She joins us from the Home Office and will further improve our already excellent communications team."
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