Treasury scouts for press chief ahead of Brown exit

The Treasury is on the hunt for a chief press officer as it braces itself for Gordon Brown's Budget in March and his likely departure to Number 10 this year.

The post has been upgraded from the press secretary role formerly held by Charlotte Farrar, who joined the Department of Health as an information officer last autumn.

‘We are looking to have someone in before the Budget,’ said a spokesman.

Farrar joined the Treasury in 2004 as a press officer. She was promoted in 2005 to press secretary, replacing Sue Monk, who returned to her native Australia.

‘The postholder will need experience of managing large amounts of press because of the high-profile nature of stories coming out of the Treasury, particularly since Tony Blair's decision to step down from the Labour Party, and the media speculation over the chancellor's next move, despite the fact that this is a political issue', Farrar said.

Brown recently enlisted former civil service press officer Helen Etheridge to run his ministerial events unit (PRWeek, 19 January). Etheridge formerly worked in the Chancellor’s inner circle for eight years before taking a two-year break from Whitehall.

Chris Martin remains as Treasury head of comms. Damian McBride is the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s special adviser.

An opinion poll commissioned by PRWeek, and published last week, revealed that two-thirds of Britons believe Brown ‘does not have the necessary charisma to be a good PM’.

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