Movers & Shakers: Edelman, Freuds, Ketchum, Tesco, Golin, Channel 4, John Lewis and more

PRWeek's weekly round-up of industry hires, departures and promotions.

Ketchum UK chief executive Jo-ann Robertson has taken an expanded role, where she will join the global executive leadership team. As UK CEO, global client solutions, she will also "lead a sustained effort to accelerate the adoption of Ketchum’s proprietary consultancy framework across Europe, in partnership with country and client leaders in that region".

Former Freuds head of strategy Kat Arnull has joined Golin and Virgo Health in the new role of UK group chief strategy officer. Golin said she will work with the UK leadership to grow the agencies’ practices and offerings.

Freuds health and behaviour change unit has appointed Public Health England’s former marketing director, Sheila Mitchell CBE, as a senior advisor. Mitchell will provide high-level strategic counsel to Freuds’ private sector health clients in the part-time role, PRWeek understands.

Peter Cross, former comms director at The John Lewis Partnership who latterly moved to an expanded customer experience director role, is leaving the retailer in April after eight years. His role is not being directly replaced.

Edelman is merging its Middle East and Africa operations. Omar Qirem, chief executive of Edelman Middle East, and Jordan Rittenberry, his counterpart at Edelman Africa, will step into broader, more senior roles to lead the businesses as one operating entity.

Channel 4 director of communications and corporate affairs James MacLeod is to step down after nine years, amid a major reorganisation of comms and other functions. MacLeod will stay until the summer to help with the restructure, which aims to help deliver the broadcaster's Future4 strategy outlined at the end of 2020.

PLMR managing director Elin de Zoete is leaving the public affairs agency after 12 years to join a Jamie Oliver-backed organisation fighting childhood obesity. She will become a director at Bite Back 2030, focusing on operational growth and corporate and government relations.

Headland has appointed a head of research and a senior digital specialist, alongside other hires and promotions. Matt Horrocks, formerly of Stonehaven, joins in the former role – a new position. Former Portland digital consultant Bénédicte Earl is the agency's new senior digital specialist. Two new partners were also named.

Powerscourt has hired two directors to head its healthcare and special situations practices, following what the agency described as a year of record growth in 2020. New head of healthcare Sarah MacLeod was most recently head of comms at Oxford Biomedica. Peter Barrett joins as head of special situations from Infinite Global, where he led its crisis and litigation offering in the UK.

Sodexo, the FTSE 250-listed foodservice and facilities management company, has made two senior appointments in its UK external and internal comms functions. Sodexo has named Melanie Diamond PR and campaigns director, while Rayna Miller, formerly head of employee engagement and social responsibility at smart meter infrastructure firm Smart DCC, joins next week as employee and change communications director.

Meanwhile, Miller's predecessor at Sodexo has joined Tesco Bank in a new role. Max Puller, who left Sodexo at the end of 2020, has joined the retailer's banking arm as head of colleague communications and engagement. The new position is part of Tesco Bank's strategic focus on internal comms and employee engagement, Puller told PRWeek.

Priya Brahmbhatt-Patel has been appointed director of communications for Ofgem, PRWeek has learned. She joins the gas and electricity markets regulator from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, where she was director of comms.

Vanessa Furey has been named public affairs manager at Highways England, leaving her role as campaigns and public affairs manager at the Institution of Civil Engineers. She started in her new role this month and reports to John Harmer, head of public affairs.

UK-based consumer PR shop Smarts has opened a New York office, led by a new appointee from Diageo. Mike DaRe, who becomes MD of Smarts USA, has spent the past decade leading earned media, entertainment, sponsorship and culture-led marketing for Diageo brands including Crown Royal, Bulleit Bourbon, and Johnnie Walker.

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