PR plans hit turbulence as BA flies in Walker

Plans for a restructuring of British Airways’ in-house PR department aimed at improving staff communications and morale were under threat this week after their architect, communications director Kevin Murray, left the company.

Plans for a restructuring of British Airways’ in-house PR

department aimed at improving staff communications and morale were under

threat this week after their architect, communications director Kevin

Murray, left the company.



BA’s new communications chief Simon Walker was brought in from the

airline’s corporate and financial PR agency, Brunswick, on Friday last

week, the day after Murray suddenly departed. BA insists that Murray

left by mutual consent. No announcement has been made on whether

Murray’s internal restructure will be scrapped. ’I’m not making any

changes at the moment,’ said Walker.



Murray was hired on a brief to bolster staff morale and change the

internal culture at BA. Under his restructuring, account managers were

to provide internal and external communications plans for different

groups of BA employees. Murray was actively recruiting three senior PR

advisers to add to his team.



However sources claim Ayling became dissatisfied with Murray’s lack of

heavyweight contacts in media and City circles. Walker, on the other

hand, is an experienced public affairs and City operator. A partner at

Brunswick since 1994, he has worked as a special adviser to John

Major.



Brunswick was brought in over Murray’s head, on Ayling’s orders, as an

adviser during the airline’s cabin crew strike last summer. Brunswick

has since worked very closely with Ayling.



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