Whetstone takes global role in Google reshuffle

Google UK public affairs head DJ Collins is set to head European comms for the search engine giant.

Insiders told PRWeek that Collins, currently Google's director of comms for UK and Ireland, will assume the role of European comms director.

This follows this week's news that the current postholder, Rachel Whetstone, is to become Google's V-P of global communications and public affairs. Whetstone, partner of Conservative Party strategy guru Steve Hilton, will be based at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters - initially on a fixed-term six-month posting.

Rumours of Whetstone's appointment circulated on US websites as early as 9 May, and confirmation came this week.

Google initially agreed that she would move to Silicon Valley permanently. But it appears concern over the implications for opposition leader David Cameron of losing his most senior aide led to a compromise.

Google told PRWeek Whetstone would continue to handle the role in the UK after an initial six-month posting in the US. The company is believed to be seeking a replacement for the role of director of communications for UK and Ireland.

Collins, 36, did not deny that he was stepping up to replace Whetstone, but said he was unable to comment further. He will head a team of 35 and continue to report to Whetstone in the new role.

The comms team is charged with promoting Google's Search and YouTube products, while handling issues management around privacy.

Before joining Google in 2006, Collins was deputy MD of Weber Shandwick's corporate and public affairs practice. He previously worked as head of news at the former Department for Education and Skills.

Whetstone replaces Elliot Schrage, who has joined Facebook in the same role. Schrage was appointed by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who previously recruited Schrage when she was at Google.

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