Perrior takes No 10 comms job
Agency chief becomes Theresa May’s communications director.
Theresa May has appointed iNHouse Communications boss Katie Perrior as her director of communications in Downing Street.
Perrior was one of five special adviser appointments confirmed by Number 10 on Thursday evening – and she was not the only person leaving a PR and public affairs firm.
May has also named her former special adviser Fiona Hill as a joint chief of staff. It comes as PAN revealed that Hill had quit her role as a director at Lexington Communications to take up the job.
Before the official announcement, Lexington boss Mike Craven confirmed to PAN that Hill had left the agency to take up her job in Number 10. “I’m delighted for Fiona,” he said.
In a surprise move, May has also appointed Legal & General corporate affairs director John Godfrey as her policy director.
Perrior’s appointment to the communications director job also came as a surprise to some lobby journalists as she does not have a background in journalism, as has been the case with previous occupants of the post such as Craig Oliver, Andy Coulson and Alastair Campbell.
Rather, Perrior started her career as a media adviser at Conservative HQ and went on to help run the PR for Boris Johnson's successful 2008 mayoral campaign. More recently, Perrior ran the media operation for May's Tory leadership campaign.
She may not have been a journalist but as a media-savvy operator with excellent political antennae, Perrior can be expected to make a success of the job.
The respected political writer and former Observer political editor Gaby Hinsliff said that Perrior’s appointment was significant for two reasons.
Firstly because “she's really smart”, said Hinsliff. And secondly because Perrior has worked for both May and Johnson and “both trust her”.
The former Labour adviser Ayesha Hazarika also gave Perrior the thumbs up, calling her a "top woman". Hazarika has recently appeared as a TV news pundit alongside Perrior.
Perrior set up iNHouse in 2006 with fellow Tory staffer Jo Tanner. The agency has grown steadily since 2006 and signed up Daily Mail political reporter Kirsty Walker in 2012.
After Perrior's role was announced by Number 10, Tanner tweeted: “Delighted for @TheresaMay2016 and her fantastic team, including @iNHouseComms very own Katie Perrior. Well done all x.”
InHouse tweeted: “We are thrilled for Katie Perrior heading into @Number10gov as Director of Comms. Our loss is the PM's gain.”
The initial special adviser appointments announced by Downing Street were as follows:
Joint Chiefs of Staff – Fiona Hill & Nick Timothy
Director of Policy – John Godfrey
Director of Communications – Katie Perrior
Press Secretary – Lizzie Loudon
Head of Features – Liz Sanderson