Public Affairs: ITN hires Holland ahead of new contract renewal

ITN has appointed former Intercontinental Hotels PR chief Kathryn Holland to boost its profile in Westminster and Whitehall as it prepares for challenges to its news contracts with ITV and Channel 4.

Holland joins ITN on 20 June and will report to chief executive Mark Wood. ITN lost its contract to provide the news on Five to BSkyB last year.

Its existing contracts with ITV and Channel 4 are coming up for renewal.

According to Holland, ITV has hinted that it might consider bringing its news production in-house.

As well as forging relationships with regulator Ofcom and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Holland will oversee all external and internal comms.

'ITN is a great brand that is doing all sorts of innovative things but it needs to ensure it has a voice and that its position on all the current broadcasting issues is properly represented,' she said.

She added the company was eager to boost awareness of its rolling news services for mobile phone and broadband users, as well as its archives business.

ITN retains Citigate Public Affairs for lobbying and Financial Dynamics for corporate work.

Holland said she would assess the effectiveness of the existing set-up before deciding whether to review the accounts.

She replaces Sophie Cohen, who left the company several months ago to become controller of public affairs for ITV.

Holland left Intercontinental Hotels as director of external communications in May 2004 after nine years at the company in its various guises.

She has also held the post of media relations manager for Six Continents.

She joined the company as Bass in 1995, holding the posts of internal communications manager and events manager. Holland has freelanced for the past year.

ITN's co-owners are ITV, with a 40 per cent stake, and Reuters, United Business Media and Daily Mail & General Trust, each of which owns 20 per cent.

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