Ex-Government comms chief moves to Scottish Qualifications Authority

Former Scottish Government comms chief John Booth has started a new job as director of comms at the SQA, PRWeek has learned.

Former government comms chief John Booth has taken on a fresh challenge
Former government comms chief John Booth has taken on a fresh challenge

John Booth spent the past two-and-a-half years as director of corporate affairs and marketing at Scottish Enterprise, in what was initially a 12-month secondment from his previous role as head of comms at the Scottish Government.

In a social media post, Booth paid tribute to his former colleagues at Scottish Enterprise, a non-departmental public body: “It’s been a privilege to lead such a talented team and to work alongside such passionate colleagues. I’ve learned so much and I’m proud of the results we have achieved together.”

Commenting on his new job, he said: “It’s undoubtedly going to be a busy and demanding role, but I’m looking forward to working with another team dedicated to public service communications and to playing my part in helping young people achieve their full potential.”

He is leading a team of around 50 staff at the SQA, and reports to chief executive Fiona Robertson. Building a new comms directorate; improving engagement with learners, parents, teachers and other stakeholders; and building trust and reputation are among his priorities in the new role.

Booth has spent more than two decades working in public sector comms, after a short-lived career in journalism with stints at the Lancaster Guardian, Morecambe Visitor, and Press & Journal newspapers. 

He started out as a press officer at the Scottish Government in 1997 before creating a comms team for the Food Standards Agency Scotland. Booth returned to the Scottish Government, where he has held a succession of roles in comms and marketing.

By the time he left the Scottish Government in 2018, he was leading a team of 130 and  was responsible for news as well as digital, corporate and internal comms.

Booth was the co-founder of Brand Scotland, a public sector partnership launched in 2018 to promote Scotland as a place to live, work, study, visit and do business.

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