Mason-Pearson to direct Freeserve external affairs

LONDON - Internet service provider Freeserve has appointed Nick Mason-Pearson as its top in-house PR man with the title of director of external affairs.

Mason-Pearson formerly acted as director of corporate comms for online question and answer service Ask Jeeves, but joined Freeserve last week.

Mason-Pearson replaces previous director of corporate affairs Paul Barker in the refocused external affairs director role, a move which, he said, reflects the role's broader PR focus.

Barker left at the end of last year to join HMV Group as head of corporate comms. He previously reported to Freeserve company secretary David Melville.

Mason-Pearson oversees consumer and trade PR, analyst and media relations, alongside regulatory affairs, reporting to marketing managing director Keith Hawkins.

He said this week he was reviewing the internet service provider's in-house and external communications in a bid to better "control" messages. He also confirmed that the group's external agencies LLM and Freud Communications -- currently used on an ad hoc project basis -- will also come under the review.

Mason-Pearson said: "Currently PR is run slightly disparately throughout the organisation and one of my main tasks is to look at how we can make the whole function run more smoothly and efficiently. One option is to centralise communications -- it makes sense from a consistency of message point of view and a control of message point of view."

Mason-Pearson is supported by a team of three, including PR manager Nadia Schofield.

Mason-Pearson said he hopes to have the review completed by mid-March.

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