InBev signs up Kelly as corporate affairs chief

Brewer InBev has brought in BAA public affairs chief Mike Kelly to fill a new post overseeing public affairs and media relations.

Artois: InBev brand
Artois: InBev brand

Kelly joins the drinks giant as director of corporate affairs, reporting to UK president Richard Evans.

InBev has created the new job as the Government steps up its efforts to promote sensible drinking. Ministers are currently investigating effects of price promotions, as well as carrying out a separate study into alcohol-fuelled disorders. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also said he is determined to tackle underage drinking.

However, it is expected that Brown will keep the current 24-hour drinking laws, following lobbying from pubs and the drinks industry.

Kelly said a top priority would be convincing stakeholders that InBev 'takes its responsibility to society seriously'.

The drinks firm, whose brands include Boddingtons, Artois and Hoegarden, retains Fleishman-Hillard for public affairs and Edelman for consumer PR. Kelly said he had no plans to review these arrangements.

Kelly began his new duties this week. A former LLM lobbyist, he has also worked for a number of Labour MPs and was political producer on BBC's Newsnight.

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