Boots restructures PR after key departures

Boots has reshuffled its top PR line-up, following the resignation of director of corporate affairs Alastair Eperon after 12 years with the high-street chemist.

It has been announced that Eperon will not be replaced directly. Instead, director of comms Jayne Mayled will take over his responsibilities, overseeing corporate and financial media teams as well as carrying on her role heading consumer and internal communications.

Mayled, who takes the newly created title of director of corporate communications, stressed that the slashing of the senior-level wage bill was not the motivation behind the move.

Last month it was reported that Boots was cutting its spending by 15 per cent on the advertising side. Mayled would not comment on this figure, but said there were no plans to cut spending on PR.

She insisted: ‘This is not a cost-cutting move. This is about greater integration of communications.’

She added the arrangement is expected to be reviewed in the autumn, when Asda chief operating officer Richard Baker joins as CEO.

Also this week, it has been revealed that former Railtrack head of media relations and later corporate affairs director Donal McCabe is to join Boots as head of financial media relations next month.

McCabe, who reports to Mayled, fills a role that has been vacant since the departure of Francis Thomas in February. The role has been handled by Boots’s financial PR firm Tulchan Communications in the interim.

Eperon left Boots last week and is understood not to have taken another role elsewhere. Late last year Boots lost another veteran communicator, its group head of external affairs Martin Wakeling, who took early retirement after ten years in the role (PRWeek, 10 January). Like Eperon, he was also not directly replaced.

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