3 appoints Bashford as corp comms head

Mobile market challenger Hutchison 3G UK has this week drafted in a former Financial Times and South China Morning Post journalist to fill its top PR role.

Ray Bashford started work this week in the newly created role of director of corporate communications, reporting directly to UK chief executive Bob Fuller.

Video mobile specialist 3’s former top PRO was external relations director Matt Peacock, who quit last month to join super-regulator Ofcom as its first communications director (PRWeek, 2 May).

Bashford, who left his most recent role as executive editor, business at the SCMP six weeks ago, takes charge of both external and internal PR for 3, whose services launched on 3 March this year – the third of the third of the third.

Bashford said he had no plans to review 3’s relationship with retained agencies Blue Rubicon, which handles corporate PR, and August.One Communications’s Joe Public Relations arm, which handles consumer work.

Bashford – who takes charge of a six-strong in-house PR team, which includes head of external relations Edward Brewster and internal comms head Kate Farrell – said his priority was to promote recent changes to 3’s tariffs and content offer.

Last month 3, which is backed by Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, introduced cheaper price plans aimed at traditional voice service users, in a bid to boost sluggish sales.

Bashford said: ‘There’s been a hell of an amount of progress in the past six weeks, and my role is to communicate that.’

Prior to the SCMP, where he spent eight years, Bashford held the position of financial news editor at the Financial Times in London.

Peacock lasted just six months in 3’s former top PR position, in which he reported to the marketing director. He joined in September last year from internet service provider AOL (PRWeek, 13 November 2002).

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