Gibbons confirms Cherie Blair PR chief role

Former Edelman corporate and public affairs director Jo Gibbons this week confirmed she will take up the controversial role of chief media adviser to Cherie Blair.

Despite Downing Street insisting it had not yet appointed a replacement for former adviser Fiona Millar, Gibbons told PRWeek she had agreed to take the role.

Gibbons confirmed she had left Edelman, but refused to specify when she would start handling publicity for the Prime Minister’s wife.

While unwilling to talk in detail about the move, Gibbons did admit she would be handling much of the duties of Cherie Blair’s current PR adviser Millar, whose partner is Downing Street director of communications and strategy Alastair Campbell.

The role will include managing the leading barrister’s media appearances, but not acting as her spokesperson.

Gibbons said: ‘It’s going to be like Fiona Millar’s role, for example handling Cherie’s personal visits and interviews with women’s magazines.’

The move comes a month after Downing Street denied that the PM’s wife was seeking PR support (PRWeek 18 July).

Gibbons, a former Labour Party PRO, joined Edelman as associate director in 2001 having previously worked as a special adviser to Baronness Jay, the former Leader of the House of Lords and Minister for Women, since 1998.

Millar made her decision to go in May this year and certain sections of the media have speculated that her move has been partly motivated by her strained relationship with Mrs Blair’s style guru Carole Caplin.

Millar helped highlight the schools funding crisis in April by writing to parents in her capacity as governor of the Gospel Oak Primary School in North London, raising her concerns that funding problems could threaten the school’s staffing levels.

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