Coke hires Ketchum’s Branston for comms role

Coca-Cola GB comms chief Tim Wilkinson has made a PR boss for coffee giant Starbucks his first senior appointment during his ongoing review of the soft-drinks giant’s PR.

Lauren Branston will join in June from a role as associate director at Ketchum, where she has run the Starbucks account for three years, promoting the US firm’s corporate position on issues such as the sourcing of ‘fair-trade’ coffee and community responsibilities.

Branston will join in the newly created role of head of strategic comms and will help promote Coke’s CSR efforts.

Wilkinson, who joined Coke GB as director of PA and comms three months ago, stressed that day-to-day responsibility for CSR would remain with head of citizenship Emma Wigzell.

Branston reports directly to Wilkinson, who said: ‘The appointment will help us achieve greater accessibility and transparency.’

Coke is still reeling from the PR disaster triggered by the recall of its Dasani water last month.

Coke North West Europe president Tom Long has acknowledged the firm is under pressure to communicate more on ‘nutrition’ issues (PRWeek, 30 January).

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