Heathrow corporate affairs boss Harbord lands at Drax
Clare Harbord led the lobbying campaign for Heathrow’s third runway.
Heathrow’s long-standing director of corporate affairs Clare Harbord has joined Drax, the operator of the UK’s largest power station.
Harbord has taken on the position of executive director of corporate affairs at Drax and reports into the company’s chief executive Dorothy Thompson.
She holds the role previously occupied by Matthew Rivers, who continues to work for Drax as a special adviser on sustainability.
Drax runs the coal and biomass plant in North Yorkshire and is responsible for generating 7% of the UK’s electricity, but it is now eyeing a ‘coal-free future’.
Harbord said her new firm’s commitment to stability and “solving complex future energy challenges” will mean engaging with stakeholders in an “engaging, transparent and responsible way”.
Thompson recently told investors that the company was “looking at opportunities for a coal-free future” and as part of the process has submitted an application to convert one of its three remaining coal-powered units to gas.
The move is necessary due to ministers promising the UK will cease to use coal power by 2025.
Harbord has a wealth of lobbying experience from her time at Heathrow. She joined in 2011 and led a five-year campaign for a third runway at Heathrow airport, which required the influencing of local and national politicians, and airlines and unions across the UK.
At Drax, Harbord is responsible for regulatory, compliance, policy, public affairs, brand, internal and external communications, and sustainability.
Harbord’s former responsibilities at Heathrow have been taken over by Carol Hui, who joined the company in 2009 as general counsel and was handed the additional role of chief of staff this year.
As chief of staff, Hui oversees external and internal communications, policy, public affairs, government and stakeholder relations, media, PR, sustainability and environment issues.
Before Harbord joined Heathrow she was director of communications at the Ministry of Justice, working under Ken Clarke and Jack Straw.
Harbord’s time at the Ministry of Justice also required her to work closely with the Home Office, Number 10 and the Cabinet Office.
Drax will also benefit from Harbord’s knowledge of the energy sector, from the three years spent heading up communications at E.ON.
Before moving in-house, Harbord worked at a number of agencies including Porter Novelli, and spent five years as a journalist at IPC Media.