Shandwick hires Chancellor's brother for media unit

LONDON - Weber Shandwick has recruited Chancellor Gordon Brown's brother, TV political editor Andrew Brown, as the latest in a string of high-profile journalists to join its strategic media relations division.

Joining this week from ITN, where for the last seven years he has been editor of Channel Four political programme 'Powerhouse', Brown has taken the title of director and reports to other recruits from journalism -- former Sunday Times political editor Michael Prescott and ex-BBC TV business correspondent Peter Morgan. Prescott and Morgan are joint MDs of the division.

WS joint CEO David Brain said Brown is expected to support ongoing work with global chip maker Intel. The division's clients include Tube Lines, which is running several underground routes, including the Northern Line.

Brain strongly denied the suggestion that Brown had been hired for his family links or that, with clients such as Tube Lines, the appointment could lead to a conflict of interest.

"He has a job to do and it is a media job. He was hired not for his links to his brother, but because he is a top-quality broadcaster. I am sure that, if there were any conflicts of interest, we would find a way to resolve them," he said.

Brain added that another senior level media relations appointment is expected to be made within the next year.

Brown, a former president of Edinburgh University Students' Association, was previously a chief sub and output editor at Channel Four News.

Meanwhile, another brother of the Chancellor, Glasgow City Council head of PR John Brown, has moved to quash reports in the Scottish press that he is to resign.

The reports alleged Brown was unhappy with a senior management reshuffle. Brown said: "I am not going to comment on rumours and speculation. I have a job to do here, and that is my priority."

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