Innovation group Nesta unveils chief lobbyist

The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta) has a new head of public affairs.

Ben Russell was formerly media and public affairs manager at Nirex, the UK's radioactive waste body. He replaces Lucy Powell, who now works for Nesta in Manchester and is understood to be on the hunt for a Parliamentary seat.

Russell will look to increase political awareness of Nesta, established in 1998 to help maximise the UK's creative and innovative potential.

The organisation's mission is to boost innovation by investing in start-up companies, informing innovation policy, and encouraging a business environment in which creativity can flourish.

Russell reports to CEO Jonathan Kestenbaum. He started his career as a researcher for Labour MP Tony Wright. He has also been a senior consultant at Fleishman-Hillard and government relations manager at Hutchison 3G.

Last year, Nesta ended its relationship with Edelman and took its public affairs in-house (PRWeek, 14 July 2006).

The move followed Powell's appointment last March as head of media and public affairs. She was previously at Britain in Europe.

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