C&W appoints Smith as Cottam is ousted

Cable & Wireless, the FTSE-100 telecoms company, has axed its two most senior PROs and poached Dixons Group comms chief Lesley Smith to head up the firm’s restructured comms division.

Under the planned restructuring, C&W director of corporate communications Susan Cottam and director of public policy Tom Phillips will leave the company.

Their duties will pass to Smith, who takes up the new role of group director of corporate and public affairs next week.

Cottam, who runs a seven-strong corporate comms team at C&W and has been with the company since 1999, said she was considering her options, but had no job to go to. Phillips was unavailable for comment.

Cottam said C&W’s decision to abolish her role was part of a company-wide review by CEO Francesco Caio, who joined last April.

‘The view is that bringing together corporate comms and public policy makes more sense as the two departments already work closely together,’ Cottam said.

In June, C&W admitted it ‘could not rule out’ the future loss of PR jobs after the company revealed a loss of £207m from a turnover of £4.2bn in March.

Smith refused to comment on her appointment or whether she planned to review C&W’s advisers, but confirmed that she had been given a wide-ranging brief across the company’s comms.

Smith joined Dixons in September 2000 as director of public affairs.

Meanwhile, Dixons has replaced its financial PR adviser of 14 years, Weber Shandwick Square Mile, with Tulchan Communications.

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