BOA in comms hike to win funds for medal hopefuls

The British Olympic Association, the body responsible for maximising the country’s Olympic success, has hired its first director of comms.

HM Revenue & Customs head of stakeholder comms Graham Newsom joins next week, reporting to CEO Simon Clegg.

Newsom was previously at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – which is overseeing preparations for the Games – latterly as head of communications.

He said: 'The role was created because the run-up to London 2012 will increase visibility, so how we do on and off the track will become all the more interesting.'

Newsom's objectives include securing funding from the Treasury for Team GB's training facilities and coaching programmes. He said he will also seek to build public enthusiasm for the event and will work with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games to ensure its successful implementation. Newsom added that he was also keen to ensure London 2012 enjoys a lasting legacy.

He will oversee a team of three, comprising public affairs and media relations practitioners. One of the  latter posts, head of media relations, has been vacant since Philip Pope left to join Cricket Australia as PA manager late last year (PRWeek, 2 December 2005).
Newsom said the position would likely be filled after February's Winter Olympics in Turin.

Newsom, who did not rule out seeking agency support closer to 2012, has also worked in the press offices of the Great Britain Sports Council and the then Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (now Defra).

Revenue & Customs said it was recruiting for his replacement through the Government Communications Network.

* Sport England is on the hunt for an agency to handle corporate PR. The account will involve implementation of a communications strategy, crisis management and stakeholder relations.

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