NEWS: Pendragon poaches NatWest’s Townsend

Edward Townsend, head of group media relations at NatWest, is leaving to join PR firm Luther Pendragon.

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

political counsel’.

* 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.

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