Exclusive: Government department chooses FCO stalwart as comms chief

The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) has appointed policy and diplomacy specialist Olivier Evans as its director of comms and engagement.

Olivier Evans is the new comms chief at DExEU
Olivier Evans is the new comms chief at DExEU

Evans now leads the comms and engagement team at the government department and oversees all its strategic communications, media and stakeholder engagement work.

He also leads on the department’s diplomatic strategy, including member-state engagement, which has been newly incorporated into the role.

The new elements of the role play to Evans’ strengths. He has joined DExEU from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department of Trade, where he was deputy ambassador to Mexico and deputy trade commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean for four years.

Earlier career

Evans joined the civil service in 2001 and has worked in various policy, diplomatic, and communications roles relating to the EU.

He has worked for the FCO for nearly 15 years, his previous posts including being a desk officer handling EU institutions and treaties, a European Parliament and EU intuitions officer, and the FCO’s spokesman on the European Union for the UK’s permanent representation in Brussels.

Evans later worked for the British Embassy in Paris, as first secretary for the European Union, and as the FCO’s EU advisor to the coalition government in 2010, before taking on the diplomatic role of head of department for the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.

He left the civil service briefly, becoming a speechwriter to the then-President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, in December 2013, and subsequently head of international and European affairs at insurance multinational Aviva.

New responsiblities

Evans rejoined the civil service in 2015 for the deputy ambassador job, and had been working for the FCO’s Crisis Centre since February to work on preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

Commenting on his new job, he said: "I'm really delighted to join the Department for Exiting the European Union at such a crucial time, and proud to lead our fantastic and hard-working communications and engagement team as we prepare to leave the EU and establish the future relationship between the UK and the EU."

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