British Premier Appoints Ex-JWT Boss to Chief Strategy Advisor

10 January 2008

LONDON: The post of chief strategy advisor to UK prime minister Gordon Brown is (some would say) a most appropriate role for Stephen Carter - a former adman whose mastery of strategic arcana successively propelled him to the helms of JWT UK, cable operator NTL (now rebranded Virgin Media) and national communications regulator Ofcom.

His appointment to the latter role arched more than a few eyebrows, especially after the financial implosion of NTL, where for two years Carter reigned as managing director.

During that time he saw the cable giant's market value plunge from $12 billion ($23.68bn; €16.08bn) to virtual zero.

As ceo of Ofcom, Carter was seen by many as the personal placeman of [then] prime minister Blair, charged with ensuring that Big Media toed a benignly-crafted regulatory regime without incurring their electoral enmity.

Since his premature departure from the watchdog in July 2006, Carter has marked time as ceo of PR multinational Brunswick Group.

His induction into Downing Street's inner circle coincides with the launch of premier Brown's ambitious legislative programme.

Moreover, in the wake of a succession of political scandals, some unfairly laid at the PM's door, Brown is in dire need of some positive spin.

As 'principal special adviser', Carter will report directly to the PM and attend cabinet meetings- albeit without a vote. He retains his dual sinecures: chairman of the Ashridge Business School and a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Eulogizes Britain's normally dour premier: "I am delighted that Stephen Carter has accepted my invitation to join the Downing Street team as we build on our programme of reform and pursue an ambitious legislative programme.

"As both a chief executive and industry regulator, he has an enviable track record in the private and public sectors, and will bring his considerable qualities and experience to the work of government".

Scottish-born Carter's admission to the UK's political sanctum sanctorum increases the already significant 'Caledonian factor' within the government's senior management team.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff