Exclusive: DfID appoints new comms chief as predecessor returns to journalism

Judith Porter has been appointed director of communications at the Department for International Development (DfID), replacing Tim Singleton.

DfID has appointed Judith Porter as its new director of comms
DfID has appointed Judith Porter as its new director of comms

Singleton, who ran comms at the department for more than three years, has returned to journalism, having been appointed head of international news at Sky.

He began his career in journalism 30 years ago and was news editor at Yorkshire Television before moving to ITV, rising to the role of director of newsgathering for the broadcaster.

Singleton told PRWeek: "I’ve learned so much both from DFID and from the Government communications network. But the opportunity to go back into news with Sky was one that was too good to miss. I’m really looking forward to working with a fabulously talented team.”

Career path

Porter has a comms career spanning more than 20 years, across the public, private and charity sectors.

She worked as a brand manager for Procter & Gamble, on products such as Lenor and Daz, before taking a similar job at Coca-Cola.

Porter moved to the charity sector as comms director for pregnancy research and information charity Tommy’s before taking her first government comms role was in the strategy division of the Central Office of Information.

She then held a series of increasingly senior roles within several departments, including the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, where she became its deputy director of comms.

Most recently, Porter spent 18 months at the Ministry of Justice and was interim director of comms at the department for a year.

DfID

In a PRWeek study into the use of social media by government departments last summer, DfID was among the best performers for engagement with its content on Facebook and Twitter, and the most prolific on the latter platform, posting 20 per cent more than others in a 12-month period.

In October, the department’s head of media, Zoe Paxton, left for New York to become chief of media relations at the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and spokesperson for the organisation’s under-secretary-general, Sir Mark Lowcock.


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