The new recruit will report to Kamal Ahmed, the senior journalist at The Observer who was last week appointed group director of communications at the commission.
A spokesperson for the commission said it hoped to appoint the director of external affairs next month. She added that the division will be 21-strong and will include ‘both public affairs and media expertise’.
The commission will also hire a director of stakeholder management who will report in to Ahmed. It has already appointed former Tony Blair aide Patrick Diamond as director of policy and strategy.
Ahmed is currently executive editor, news, at The Observer. In an email to staff announcing Ahmed’s departure, The Observer editor Roger Alton said: ‘He has performed outstanding service for this newspaper, first as a brilliant, skilful and scoop-garnering political editor, and more recently, as a formidable head of news.’
The Equality and Human Rights Commission formed on 1 October, taking over the responsibilities of the Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.
PRWeek reported last week that the former director of public affairs at the Equal Opportunities Commission, Sam Smethers, is to take a senior post at public sector specialist agency DHA Communications.