Public Affairs: Ntl reviews PA after hire of Richmond as director

Britain's largest cable company, ntl, is in talks with agencies about its public affairs account, following the hire of former tobacco industry lobbyist Paul Richmond as PA director.

LLM Communications has acted as ntl's retained public affairs adviser for the past three years.

The company refused to comment on the review but it is understood to involve Richmond and ntl chief executive Simon Duffy.

Richmond joined last month, filling a void created early last year by the joint departure to Ofcom of director of PA Roger Lowry and director of regulatory affairs Alex Blower. The successful PA agency will need to forge a robust relationship with the regulator.

Richmond spent ten years at British American Tobacco in a variety of senior policy roles, latterly as head of corporate responsibility at US subsidiary Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation. He also worked on the development of a global strategy for BAT's corporate brand.

For the past two years Richmond has acted as an independent consultant on brand communications and reputation management.

At ntl he reports to director of communications and policy Keith Monserrat.

The review comes as the company recovers from a long spell of debt. It reported an 80 per cent cut in losses to £39m for 2004, while adding 34,000 residential customers to reach more than three million households.

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