News Int hires ex-Howard spokesman to head PA

Britain’s most powerful national newspaper group has hired the former director of anti-European integration think-tank the Bruges Group as its head of public affairs.

Jonathan Collett steps into the post at Rupert Murdoch's News International – publisher of The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and News of the World – this month.

For the past five years he has been a researcher at Conservative Central Office, most recently acting as a spokesman for recently
departed party leader Michael Howard.

He will be expected to represent NI on media regulatory issues and facilitate its relationships with senior politicians.

Collett's appointment at NI follows the switch of Alison Clark, director of corporate affairs for the past six years, to the newly created role of business development director.

Clark, who oversaw public and regulatory affairs in that post, declined to comment on her new brief. The company has indicated its intention to enter the lifestyle magazine sector with the launch of three as-yet-unnamed titles.

The corporate affairs department is now being overseen by NI executive director James MacManus. In addition, Clark's former deputy Janet Anderton returns this month from maternity leave in an as-yet-unspecified role.

'The media industry is on the threshold of great change,' said MacManus. 'NI intends to keep abreast of consumers' growing appetite for digital technology in every part of its business including corporate affairs.'

MacManus has overseen the Times supplements stable, which includes The Times Literary Supplement. NI offloaded The Times Educational and The Times Higher Educational Supplement to a private equity firm last October to help fund its investment in new presses.

NI retains Fleishman-Hillard as its public affairs adviser.

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