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
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.