The Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s (ICRF) head of PR is leaving to
set up as a freelance consultant.
Margaret Willson, who has been with the ICRF for ten years, will
specialise in science and medical communications.
Her announcement follows a reorganisation by the ICRF in which the PR
department, previously a separate division directly responsible to the
director general, was brought under the fundraising and communications
department, headed by Peter Vicary-Smith.
Willson said she was opposed to the restructuring and told PR Week: ’The
primary function of public relations is to give an independent and
dispassionate PR view across the board and it was important that public
relations should not become - or be perceived within and outside the
organisation - to become part of any one single division of the
Although Willson said she did not believe that the new arrangements
would affect the day to day running of the PR department, it was
important to keep the department autonomous, in line with most medical
charity PR set ups. Its role was to support both the fundraising and the
However, Willson was keen to stress that her relations with senior
management remain amicable and that she may even be working for them in
her freelance capacity.
’The decision to leave was mine,’ she said. ’I felt it was time to move
on.’ Willson will leave by July, once a replacement has been found.
Vicary-Smith joined the ICRF in October, two months after the new
director general Dr Paul Nurse. He is currently looking for replacements
for Willson and the former head of marketing Alan Gosschalk, who has
moved to the Royal National Institute for the Deaf as director of
fundraising and marketing.
Vicary-Smith said: ’We see a very broad set of functions for the
communications role and will be developing its brief to become even