DTI names Hilton chief for ‘proactive’ comms

The Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) has promoted principal private secretary Matthew Hilton to the beefed-up post of director of strategy and communications amid a comms shake-up.

The role incorporates the responsibilities of former director of strategy Geoff Dart and former director of comms Sheree Dodd.
Dodd resigned her post in April last year but continued to work freelance for the DTI until the summer. Dart left to take another post elsewhere in the department in the summer.

The restructure is part of the Phillis Review into comms, Hilton said. He is now recruiting for a head of news to replace Mike Snowden who left last January (PRWeek, 10 December 2004).

Hilton is charged with around 90 staff covering strategic planning and communications, a 20-strong press office, web, publications and marketing and reports to Permanent Secretary Alan Johnson.

'This new structure gives us the opportunity to tell our story better, to be proactive and, because of the work I have done in the past, I should be able to tap into ministerial direction integrating comms with strategy well,' said Hilton.

Hilton takes up the post after 12 years in the department. Previous roles include being a director during former Secretary of State Patricia Hewitt's review of the DTI in 2003.

'This is where I got involved in the strategic direction of the department,' said Hilton. Comms issues facing the DTI in the future include energy and employment policy, he added.

The DTI was renamed the Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry soon after the May election to widespread ridicule and changed back after six days.

The move is alleged to have cost the taxpayer around £30,000. 

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