Electrical goods retailer The Dixon Group has poached Lesley Smith,
director of public affairs at Burson-Marsteller, for the newly-created
post of public affairs director.
Smith’s role at Dixon will include responsibility for building
relationships with the Government, the European Commission and trade
bodies. She will report directly to group chief executive John
’She will support our involvement with environmental, political and
legislative issues in the UK and Brussels,’ Clare told PR Week.
Smith will safeguard the retailer’s interests in environmental issues
such as CFC gases in fridges and recycling television sets.
The most controversial issue for Dixon and other electrical goods
retailers is a damning report by the Monopolies Commission into price
fixing last July. President of the Board of Trade Margaret Beckett
banned retailers from using manufacturers’ recommended retail prices,
which were blamed for stifling competition and keeping prices high.
Clare said that Smith’s role at Dixon had previously been performed by
internal committees, although Dixon currently retains GJW for public
affairs work in the UK. ’It will be up to her whether she wants to
continue that relationship or dispose of it,’ he said.
Smith, who takes up her post on 2 February, joined B-M in November 1996
and reported to managing director of European government relations,
Jeremy Galbraith. She headed the firm’s UK lobbying operation. There are
no plans to replace her. Smith’s departure means that B-M is left with
one senior public affairs player with links to the Labour Party - Ian
Lindsley, who joined from Shandwick in September.
Prior to her stint at B-M Smith studied in the US for an MBA, before
which she was head of government and public affairs at Railtrack. She is
also the former spokesperson for former deputy Labour Party leader, Roy
The Dixon Group, which includes Dixons, Currys and PC World, has seen
its share price drop over 20 per cent in the past few months amid
concern about pre-Christmas sales.