City & Corporate: The Week in City & Corporate

Sabbatical for ITV's Gallagher, building societies hire agencies.

ITV's director of group corporate affairs Mark Gallagher is set to leave the company at the end of the year and take a sabbatical in 2010. Gallagher has agreed to maintain a watching brief on public policy matters until the dissolution of Parliament, expected in March 2010.

Ruth Settle will step up to the new role of director of communications, taking direct responsibility for corporate public relations.

The Financial Services Authority's longstanding director of comms John Murray is leaving the trade body without a job to go to. The FSA said Murray was considering other projects. Murray joined the FSA in April 2006, where he headed public affairs, media relations, internal comms and events. Murray co-founded financial PR shop Powerscourt with Rory Godson and worked as head of comms at Telewest.

The Yorkshire and Chelsea building societies are using Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Hogarth respectively to advise on their planned merger announced last week. The unified organisation will have assets of £35bn and 2.7 million members.

Rockhopper Exploration, the AIM-listed oil and gas exploration firm, has brought in M: Communications on a retained financial communications brief. The firm previously used Aquila Financial and is the largest licence holder in the North Falkland Basin. It expects to start drilling in 2010.

SAM Capital Partners, the European investment specialist, has brought in Hume Brophy to look after its media relations and communications in the UK and Germany.

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