South will leave Lib Dems for B-M position

Nick South will leave his post as Paddy Ashdown’s head of press and policy after the Liberal Democrats’ conference this week, to join the corporate team at Burson-Marsteller.

Nick South will leave his post as Paddy Ashdown’s head of press and

policy after the Liberal Democrats’ conference this week, to join the

corporate team at Burson-Marsteller.



His replacement as Ashdown’s personal spin doctor is Sean O’Grady.



O’Grady joins from the BBC where he worked in the political research

unit and was a producer for On the Record. Both South and O’Grady were

at the conference in Eastbourne this week.



South, 27, joined the Liberal Democrats in 1991 as a researcher after

gaining a double first at Oxford University. By 1995 he had replaced

Alan Leaman as Ashdown’s chief spokesman and speech writer.



He will join Burson-Marsteller as a senior associate, the equivalent of

an account director, and report to chairman Alan Watson.



South helped to design the Liberal Democrats’ successful May election

campaign, in which all policies were costed and long-standing party

causes such as electoral reform were temporarily dropped as campaigning

issues.



O’Grady will soon be joined by another senior spokesperson. The party

has advertised for a head of press and policy to handle overall party

matters to replace Jane Bonham-Carter, who left after the election.



Zoe Hassid, who heads up the press office for the parliamentary party,

will report to the new head of press and policy. Hassid works with a

team of three press officers.



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