Glasgow’s Brown denies report caused departure

Glasgow City Council PR and marketing head John Brown has hit out at speculation that his decision to retire is due to a critical report of council communications and a recent reorganisation of his team.

The elder brother of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is seeking to end speculation, mainly in the Scottish press, that his request for early retirement is linked to the findings of a recent independent report by Clearview Strategy.

This report, based on interviews with stakeholders in the city, including journalists, concluded that PR efforts weren’t proactive enough.

Brown said to link the report’s findings with his departure was ‘not correct’, adding that he was part of a working group currently debating how best to act on the report’s findings.

When asked whether there was any truth in reports suggesting that a recent reorganisation, including the creation of a media manager’s post, was also a factor in his decision to leave, he said: ‘That’s absolute nonsense. I don’t know where people have got that from.’

He added the creation of the role was something he had in fact been campaigning for. ‘This role will strengthen the media team,’ he added.

Although Brown has put in a request for early retirement, no firm date has been set, although it is likely that he will stand down next spring. No decision has been made as to whether he will be directly replaced. He added he would not make a decision on whether to remain in the PR sector until after he leaves.

The newly created media manager role and another new role, that of events manager, are both yet to be filled.

The working group looking at Clearview’s findings is expected to conclude by the end of the year. Brown, who joined the council in 1996 and is a former Scottish Television political editor said: ‘Maybe we could be more effective in the way we spend the marketing resources.’

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