Wanted: New Scottish Government PR guru after Andrew Baird jumps ship

Andrew Baird has left the Scottish Government to join the Big Partnership. Picture: TSPL

Andrew Baird has left the Scottish Government to join the Big Partnership. Picture: TSPL

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The Scottish Government’s head of communications Andrew Baird is to leave Alex Salmond’s administration to take up a job at the PR and digital media agency The BIG Partnership.

The Scottish Government’s head of communications is to leave Alex Salmond’s administration to take up a job in public relations.

Andrew Baird will join PR and digital media agency the Big Partnership as a director in its Edinburgh office.

The company said Mr Baird would work with other directors to “play a key role in developing Big’s strategic communications and issues management offering”.

Mr Baird has been head of communications at the Scottish Government since 2010 and was previously head of news.

With a background in government communications since 1987, the civil servant led the devolution communications team in 1997 and became the first official spokesperson for Jack McConnell when he was first minister in 2001.

Mr Baird said: “Working in government is tremendously rewarding, but, after nine years in senior communications positions within the Scottish Government, I am keen to take my career in a new direction.

“It has been a huge privilege to lead such a talented team, which is in good shape to go from strength to strength.

“I am looking forward to joining Big and playing a full part in the agency’s business development plans.”

A quietly spoken individual with an air of calm, Mr Baird began working in the civil service in the pre-devolution era. His career has covered the reign of four first ministers: Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish, Mr McConnell and Alex Salmond.

Mr Baird’s other government roles have included being a press officer at the former Department of Health and Social Security in Whitehall.

Big’s co-founder, Neil Gibson, said: “Andrew is one of Scotland’s most respected and experienced communications professionals and his appointment will augment our strategy development and issues management capability.

“He’ll also work closely with the head of our Edinburgh office, Nicki Sturzaker, to grow our business in the capital.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “After 20 years in the Scottish government, Andrew Baird is leaving to take up a new post with the Big Partnership. Andrew has driven forward a number of changes and improvements within communications and we wish him well in his new career.

“A restructuring will now take place which will include the

appointment of a new director of communications and ministerial support.

“It is expected that the new

director will be supported by two deputy directors, which means the number of senior civil servants in communications remains the same.”

Big, which was rated the largest PR and digital media agency outside London in PR Week’s annual audited top 150 survey, recently opened an office in Liverpool, the first time it has had a presence outside Scotland.

The firm was founded in 2000, employs 95 staff across five offices and has a 300-strong client base.

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