Edward Townsend, head of group media relations at NatWest, is leaving to
join PR firm Luther Pendragon.
Former journalist Town-send, 52, leaves some time later this autumn
after six years with NatWest.
The announcement of his departure follows that of Simon Lewis, NatWest’s
director of corporate affairs, who joins British Gas Energy later this
Lewis stressed that the timing of the departures was purely co-
incidental and that he had been thinking about moving for some time.
Commenting on the appointment of a successor to Townsend, Lewis said
this would wait until his own job had been filled. ‘Obviously the
structure of the department going forward will be reviewed when my
successor is in place.’
A former industrial editor of the Times, Townsend left journalism in
1988 to become head of media relations for airport operator BAA. He
moved to NatWest Group in 1990 as a senior press officer.
Joint managing director of Luther Pendragon, George Pitcher, described
Townsend’s appointment as a ‘rare opportunity to acquire’ a senior
counsellor. He said the firm had been looking to ‘add more strings to
our bow’ in terms of financial PR. He also revealed that it is in the
process of recruiting someone from the Labour Party ‘to consolidate our
* In a separate development it emerged that Luther Pendragon has been
hired by the Commission for Racial Equality.
Working with the University of Leeds, Luther Pendragon’s brief is to
monitor how the issue of race relations is treated during the election
campaign - and to ensure that, if does become an issue, it is treated in
an ‘informed, accurate and balanced way’.
Chris Myant, senior press officer at the CRE said he had nothing to say
on the matter: ‘either on, off the record or sideways’.
The CRE dropped The Communication Group as its lobbying agency in March
and switched the account to Anson-Dunnett.