PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in retail comms (in-house)

PRWeek's UK Power Book reveals the PR professionals who lead the way in their respective areas. Today, we rank the big in-house players in retail comms.

(clockwise from top left) Heffernan, Cross, McKenzie-Gould, Thornton
(clockwise from top left) Heffernan, Cross, McKenzie-Gould, Thornton

1. Christine Heffernan – Group communications director, Tesco

Heffernan succeeded Jane Lawrie in the top comms role at Britain’s biggest supermarket group a year ago.

2. Peter Cross – Customer experience director, John Lewis Partnership

With his role also encompassing customer experience, Cross arguably personifies the modern, multifaceted comms chief in customer-facing industries – and the retailer’s Christmas campaign launch remains a huge talking point.

3. Rebecca Reilly – Group head of external comms, Sainsbury’s

Reilly oversees consumer PR as well as corporate comms at the UK’s second-biggest supermarket group.

4. Victoria McKenzie-Gould – Corporate comms director, Marks & Spencer

The former special adviser to Tony Blair has a CV to rival anyone in her field. Joining from Britvic, her notable former roles include government relations director at Tesco.

5. Julian Bailey – PR director, Morrisons

Bailey joined the UK’s fourth-biggest supermarket chain in 2011 and was promoted to PR director in 2015.

6. Keith Hann – Director of corporate affairs, Iceland

The retailer has had a quieter period in the media since 2018, when its environmental campaigning – in particular the ‘banned’ anti-palm oil video – proved a big talking point.

7. Russ Brady – Head of group public relations, The Co-operative Group

Brady recently completed 20 years at The Co-op, and has helped steer the organisation’s comms through a turbulent decade.

8. Georgina Hall – Head of communications, Lidl

The national discount supermarket group, which has more than 760 UK stores, runs through Hall’s veins – she joined in 2009 as a graduate trainee and progressed to the top comms role in 2017.

9. Richard Thornton – Communications director, Aldi

Aldi is the biggest of the nation’s budget supermarkets, which have redefined grocery shopping for many in recent years.

10. Nigel Cope – Head of media relations, Kingfisher

Cope oversees group-wide communications, spanning nine countries, for the listed owner of B&Q and Screwfix.

More from the 2020 Power Book:

Who's in? PRWeek launches UK Power Book and lists lead players in each sector

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in corporate and financial comms (agency)

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