MyTravel hires Olivant to fill comms vacancy

Troubled holiday group MyTravel has filled its vacant communications director position seven months after resurrecting a role it did away with just a year earlier.

The post has been taken by director of corporate communications at airports group BAA Steven Olivant.

He joins MyTravel, formerly known as Airtours, at a difficult time for the company. The firm announced in February it was to cut 700 jobs as a result of the continuing slump in the air travel sector. It had already made 3,000 staff redundant in the 18 months since September 11.

It then suffered a share price collapse following a restatement of earlier profit figures, for which chief executive Tim Byrne was forced out.

MyTravel then appointed Brunswick to handle its corporate and financial PR, a relationship believed to be unaffected by Olivant's move.

Olivant joins the firm in June and will report to Byrne's successor as CEO Peter McHugh. He takes charge of a corporate affairs staff of just six, comprising a five-strong UK press office and a regional PR head for northern Europe, which is based in Sweden.

UK head of PR Helen Wailes, who will report to Olivant, said: 'Steven will want to look at the whole structure going forward.'

The revival of the comms director role at MyTravel came almost exactly a year after former incumbent Anita McErlean was made redundant.

At BAA, Olivant's departure caps a string of in-house changes since the arrival of former Independent editor Ian Hargreaves as director of corporate and PA in January (PRWeek, 8 August 2002).

The company - which owns Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports - has axed the role of south-east airports comms director following the resignation of incumbent Jenny Bradley. In the new set-up, there will be a comms director for each airport, all of whom will report to Olivant's successor.

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