BT seeks PA chief after Walkington departure

BT this week kicked off the search to fill one of the biggest in-house lobbying roles in the country, its group public affairs director job, following Sandy Walkington’s move to join the Liberal Democrats next month as director of general election communications.

BT group comms director Peter Morgan said the telecoms company wanted someone who could articulate its public affairs issues accurately and identify ‘the right audiences’, such as the CBI and academic groups.

Morgan added: ‘As a large employer and investor in Britain we need to be part of public debates about e-government and higher education.’ The role will also involve liaising with Ofcom over the rollout of broadband and ensuring BT is well placed against its rivals to capitalise on public sector telecoms contracts. The successful candidate will inherit a ten-strong PA team.

Walkington, who has led BT’s public affairs function for eight years, was one of a small number of insiders in the frame for the role of comms director, but it was awarded to then media relations director Morgan (PRWeek, 7 January).

Previous comms chief Robin Pauley was given the newly created role of president of European affairs to tackle telecoms regulatory issues in Brussels. Pauley is based in Brussels for three days of the week and reports to BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen.

Morgan, a former BBC international business correspondent, joined BT as media relations chief last year from Weber Shandwick.

Walkington has described his task at the Liberal Democrats as showing that the party ‘on every issue is the effective opposition [to Labour]’.

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