Independent’s Cope joins Kingfisher in comms role

The Independent’s City editor Nigel Cope is to join B&Q owner Kingfisher Group in the newly created role of head of external communications.

Cope, who has worked at the newspaper for ten years and as a journalist for 17, joins a newly created comms operation, following the firm’s demerger from its electrical chain Comet.

Effectively, Cope replaces Jonathan Miller, who was head of corporate communications but left in May, and joined international oil and gas exploration firm BG Group as head of external comms this week.

Cope will join in September, reporting to director of corporate comms Ian Harding on a media relations brief. He will initially lead a team of around seven, although his remit requires close liaison with group press teams such as B&Q’s in-house office.

‘The main thing is that they wanted a larger, stronger in-house press team because they have relied on external agencies. It will be a tighter team working closely with new CEO Gerry Murphy,’ he said.

Harding said: ‘Nigel is joining the business at an exciting time as it becomes a pure DIY retailer, and his wealth of retail experience as a journalist will be invaluable.’

Kingfisher is developing its activities as a dedicated home improvement retailer. It is Europe’s largest, with 600 stores across Europe and Asia, and is the market leader in UK and France.

Last December the firm’s communications operation was overhauled, with Kingfisher director of corporate comms Andrew Mills made redundant and his role scrapped.

Under the new regime, Mills’s roles in City PR and media relations were moved to a financial comms team headed by Harding, who has recently held roles as head of IR and head of financial comms.

Kingfisher has used an array of agencies for its brands, including Hill & Knowlton and The Red Consultancy on PR for the B&Q chain.

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