Number 10 comms adviser quits for Hill & Knowlton

PM's comms aide leaves after less than six months to take up PR agency role

Number 10: now has several vacancies in its comms team
Number 10: now has several vacancies in its comms team

The communications adviser brought in by Gordon Brown to target the ‘comm-entariat’ is leaving Downing Street after less than six months.

Paul Sinclair, who has been acting as as a special adviser to the Prime Minister, will move to Hill & Knowlton in November, in a top public affairs role, PRWeek can reveal.

He will join the agency as MD designate of its 20-strong UK public affairs practice and will report to MD of public affairs and head of corporate affairs Tim Fallon.

The appointment was confirmed by Fallon, who said: ‘Paul’s experience and deep understanding of UK politics and the media will be a major asset to us.’

Sinclair moved to Downing Street in the summer (PRWeek, 21 June), having previously been an aide to international development secretary Douglas Alexander. He was brought on board to win over influential columnists as well as the Scottish media, but his app-ointment divided political pundits.

BBC business editor Robert Peston told PRWeek at the time that Sinclair would ‘find life incredibly difficult’ in his new role.

But The Daily Telegraph political correspondent James Kirkup  said of the appointment: ‘Number 10 has finally done something sensible.’

Sinclair is not the first comms professional to leave Team Brown this year. Downing Street declined to say whether Sinclair would be replaced, but sources close to Number 10 said he had been hired to work on a ‘short-term’ project only.

Sinclair is a former political editor of the Daily Record. The hire is a major coup for Hill & Knowlton, which last year took on Conservative Party deputy campaigns dir-ector Oliver Dowden (PRWeek, 14 December 2007).

Last year, Hill & Knowlton lost public affairs chief and board director Rod Cartwright to Ketchum (PRWeek, 23 November 2007).

Vacancies at No 10

Comms adviser But Downing Street has not said whether Sinclair will be be directly replaced

Chief press officer Newly created role remains unfilled

Head of strategic comms unit Downing Street is yet to replace Martin Sheehan, who joined Portland PR

Chief speechwriter Brown is still searching for a replacement for Beth Russell, who moved to
the Treasury in June

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