Exclusive: Woodhouse swaps government departments to be DCMS comms chief

Craig Woodhouse, the director of comms at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is to leave next month for a new role in government, PRWeek has learned.

Craig Woodhouse will take up his new role next month
Craig Woodhouse will take up his new role next month

Craig Woodhouse, who departs from BEIS on 14 July, will become director of comms at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

There he will lead a multidisciplinary team spanning strategic comms, media, digital and campaigns, as well as marketing and external affairs.

The role is similar in scope to his job at BEIS, although he will not be responsible for internal comms.

Woodhouse will replace Tracy Lee, who had been comms chief at DCMS since 2013 but has now moved to become head of transformation change and engagement at the department. Jose Riera, who has been serving as head of communications at DCMS for the past few months, will remain within the department.

Woodhouse paid tribute to his colleagues at BEIS and the work they had done together.

He said: “I have had a fantastic two years at BEIS and I’m very proud of the work we have done – guiding businesses through Brexit, supporting them during the pandemic and helping them to reopen, paving the way for the vaccine rollout through the work of the Vaccines Taskforce and communicating on the crucial challenge of tackling climate change. It is a fantastic team and I will be sad to say goodbye.”

PRWeek understands that BEIS will launch a recruitment process to replace Woodhouse later this year.

Return to DCMS

Woodhouse was previously a senior political journalist, working for The Telegraph, Press Association and The Standard before he became The Sun’s chief political correspondent.

After four years with the newspaper, Woodhouse left in 2016 to become a special adviser to former culture secretary Karen Bradley at DCMS, before he was posted to the Conservative Party's HQ as a press officer during the 2017 general election campaign. He was also, briefly, Theresa May’s press secretary.

A two-year stint as a senior public affairs director at Edelman, under Will Walden, followed before Woodhouse took up his role at BEIS.

He said he was “thrilled” to be returning to DCMS, adding: “I know from my brief time in the department previously what a great place it is to work, and have seen first-hand the excellent work done by the comms team. It is an honour to be returning to lead that team and I can’t wait to get started.”

DCMS comms priorities

Commenting on the role of the department in the wake of the pandemic, Woodhouse said: “It is such an important time for the department, and communications will have a critical role in the months ahead: supporting sectors to reopen and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic, telling the story of how technology and the digital and creative industries are central to powering the recovery… And then raising spirits at home and promoting Britain to the world through the exciting calendar of major events in 2022, including the Platinum Jubilee, Festival UK and the Commonwealth Games."

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