Miller takes European role as Boeing revamps team

US aerospace and defence giant Boeing has restructured its European PR team, promoting UK comms director Charlie Miller to a pan-European role and hiring Nick West to replace him in the UK.

West, who started at Boeing this week, was formerly deputy director of communications at French defence, aerospace and electronics firm Thales UK, which he quit in late February.

The moves are part of a PR overhaul orchestrated by vice-president of international comms Matthew de la Haye, who revealed his plan to create the EMEA corporate comms director post in March last year (PRWeek, 8 March 2002).

Miller said the EMEA role, for which he will remain in London, will see him lead PROs in countries including France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Russia, plus the UK, ‘working alongside’ communicators in Boeing’s six main operational divisions, which span areas including commercial plane manufacture and air-traffic control technology.

He said the creation of the EMEA role reflected ‘the growth in the number of markets in which we need to communicate’.

Miller confirmed that Boeing had no plans to review the remit of Harrison Cowley, which has handled PR in the UK for almost two years (PRWeek, 23 November 2001).

Commenting on rumours that Boeing may merge with weapons firm BAE Systems, Miller said: ‘This speculation is nothing new. Do we have a close relationship with BAE? Absolutely. Are we going to merge? It’s impossible to say.’

Thales director of comms Tim Orr said a shortlist of candidates had been drawn up to replace West, with a view to hiring ‘shortly’. The appointee will take the same role as West’s, as part of a six-strong comms team.

Two months ago BAE Systems rejected a merger approach from Thales in favour of pressing ahead with a transatlantic link-up.

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