FH director quits to run DWP comms for Hutton

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), overseen by secretary of state John Hutton, has poached Fishburn Hedges board director Sue Garrard to head its 320-strong comms department.

Garrard, who worked on various government campaigns during her five years at FH, will lead one of Whitehall’s largest comms oper­ations at a time of some controversy.

Pressing issues in which Hutton’s department is embroiled include the pensions crisis and its latest attempts to encourage lone parents to return to work.

Garrard also takes res­ponsibility for the PR professionals within DWP’s bodies the Child Support Agency, the Disability and Carers Service, and Job­Centre Plus – an FH client.

‘It is a huge department in terms of delivery, not just policy, and communications are central to its operation,’ said Garrard, who starts next week. Prior to FH she worked at ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

She takes over from Simon MacDowall, who joined the Ministry of Def­ence as director-general of media and operations last year (PRWeek, 4 Aug 2006).

SEPERATELY... FH has also been hit by the resignation of board director Lee White­head after seven years. He is to join the East of England Strategic Heath Authority in March.

FH managing director Fiona Thorne said that the agency was recruiting for a replacement.

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