London Eye chief moves to top HarperCollins role

Publisher HarperCollins has snapped up The London Eye’s top PR man to fill its most senior comms post.

Tom Howard-Vyse left the tourist attraction at the end of last week after an eight-month interim stint. He was brought in to oversee corporate affairs during the attraction’s sale to the Tussauds Group, which was completed two months ago.

Reporting to HarperCollins CEO and publisher Victoria Barnsley, Howard-Vyse joins as comms director on 5 June.

He takes over from Susanna Frayn and Jacks Thomas, who have shared the role for the past year. Frayn was comms director from 2001 to 2005, but went part-time after returning from maternity leave. She will remain at HarperCollins as comms manager. Thomas has been on a sabbatical from Midas PR, and will return to a joint-MD role at the agency.

HarperCollins, which publishes up to 5,000 new titles a year worldwide, has been quick to react to the
demand for digital audio books. The company is part of a global consortium of publishers that plans to launch book download sites later this year.

The move was in part prompted by HarperCollins’ desire to keep control of its copyright, rather than allow internet search engines to freely publish titles online.

The London Eye’s communications will now be handled by PR manager Sahrette Saayman, who oversees a team of three. Kelly Matthews, who left the top PR role at the tourist attraction last summer after six years to take a sabbatical, will not return.

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