Mayoral ambition in question as Norris is shortlisted for top Golin/Harris PA job

LONDON - A question mark appeared over Steven Norris's mayoral ambitions this week as it emerged he is under consideration for the top public affairs job at Golin/Harris.

The agency refused to confirm Norris had been offered the role, but PRWeek can exclusively reveal he is one of three candidates on the shortlist and that a decision is expected within weeks.

Golin/Harris's PA arm was led by former Norris aide Ceri Evans until the latter's departure last month to become director of media at the government's recently created Strategic Rail Authority.

Evans had himself been in the job just two years, having been drafted in after running Norris's failed -- but praised -- bid to become Mayor of London in May 2000.

Golin/Harris UK deputy managing director Barry Leggetter said: 'We are serious about our public affairs practice and are keen to find an outstanding leader for that team. No decision has yet been made as to who will get the job.'

The fact Norris is in the frame has raised a question mark over his widely expected 2004 City Hall bid.

Following the 2000 race, Norris took his private clients in the transport sector with him to Citigate Public Affairs, the Incepta-owned firm led by managing director Warwick Smith.

Norris admitted to PRWeek just five months ago that he was "keen to stand" against mayor Ken Livingstone, and hinted he was giving himself a two-year run-in to the poll, planned for May 2004.

He declined to comment on news that he was the frontrunner for the Golin/Harris job, for which he is thought to have been approached by the Interpublic-owned agency's global CEO Rich Jernstedt last month.

  • Golin/Harris associate director Justin Maclaren is leaving to launch a global polling and elections consultancy with former Gallup chief and Opinion Research Business founder Gordon Heald.

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