LONDON — Jamie Doward has joined BCW UK as head of strategic media. During a 23-year career at the Observer newspaper, Doward was the newspaper’s home affairs editor, social affairs editor and acting business editor. He has been freelance since 2021 and has written two novels and a memoir about marathon running. Doward, who reports to corporate and public affairs deputy MD Leila Ager, replaces former Sun deputy political editor Steve Hawkes, who left BCW last year to become director of reputational and public affairs in the UK and Ireland at Flutter Entertainment. Hawkes was recently promoted to chief reputation and external affairs officer at the gambling and gaming group.

LONDON — Strategic communications firm Kekst CNC has hired Mikey Hoare as a director in London. Hoare joins from the UK Cabinet Office, where he was director of National Security Communications, overseeing communications around threats such as hostile state disinformation and cyber incidents and overseeing communications around the war in Ukraine. Hoare had worked in UK government departments in various roles since 2003, including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as director of communications for cyber/security, head of communications at the British Embassy in Washington and press secretary at the UK Mission to the UN in New York. He started his career as a financial journalist.

NAIROBI — Joel Chacha has joined Portland Communications as a director, to lead the agency’s Africa continent hub, based in Kenya. Chacha (pictured) started his career in journalism with Kenyan news organisation Standard Group, before moving into communications working for agencies including Ogilvy. He was previously general manager and chief strategist at Tell-Em Public Relations in Nairobi, and has worked with clients including Visa, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kenya Airways and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. In his new role, Chacha will oversee integrated communications and campaigns for corporate and non-profit clients.

LONDON — Technology specialist Harvard has appointed Beata Zacharska as senior digital strategist. Zacharska joins the agency’s six-strong strategy and planning team, where she will be responsible for driving digital strategy, audience insights and brand planning for clients across Harvard and its consumer technology agency, Eat the Fox. Zacharska has more than 10 years’ experience in digital marketing and data-driven strategy for global brands including at Saatchi & Saatchi and most recently overseeing Google’s ‘Think with Google’ marketing programme across EMEA.

LONDON — AstraZeneca has hired former MHP head of health Kate Harrison as head of global corporate affairs, vaccine and immune therapies. Harrison had been at the agency almost a decade; AstraZeneca is one of MHP’s clients. It is Harrison’s first in-house role.

LONDON — Red Havas has appointed Anna Thomson as a managing partner. Before joining Golin as an executive director in 2021, Thomson was head of PR at advertising agency Karmarama for more than five years. She has also worked as senior global PR manager for the beauty and male grooming division at Philips, and at Freuds and Hill+Knowlton Strategies. In her new role, Davies will report to Red Havas London MD Richard Clarke and sit on the UK management team, with responsibility for accounts including American Express, Jaguar Landrover and NHS Blood and Transplant. Red Havas has also promoted London head of planning and strategy Claire Davies to head of strategy and planning across Red Havas’ UK offices. Her remit will be to expand the agency’s creative earned and influencer services as well as identify new measurement frameworks and enhanced tools and technology.

LONDON — Brand building and reputation management company Marco has hired George Wakely to its media relations team in London. Wakely has a background in journalism and has worked across the entertainment, public sector and charitable sectors, most recently as head of entertainment and PR for Scarborough Pride. At Marco, he will be supporting clients in the UK market including EU institutions, Canva and the World Avocado Organization.

LONDON – Healthcare specialist Aurora has expanded its senior leadership team with two director-level hires. Bettina Seri joins as director and head of medical communications from Pollen Health, where she was scientific strategy and business director. Seri, who has a PhD in neuroscience, has also held senior medical education and communications roles at MKG Global and ApotheCom. In addition, Stephen O’Farrell returns to the agency as director and head of patient engagement. With a background in journalism and patient advocacy, O’Farrell helped to establish Aurora’s innovative patient engagement practice. After 18 months as a senior consultant at Wilson Hartnell in Dublin, he has rejoined Aurora’s leadership team with a remit to develop the patient engagement offer, which includes clinical trial recruitment, patient activation, disease awareness and advocacy relations.

LONDON — B2B tech marketing specialist Fox Agency, which recently expanded into the DACH region, has made eight new senior appointments to meet growing demand for its integrated services, across client consultancy, strategy, marketing, PR, 3D and motion, and digital. The new hires are: Bill Lyne as head of copy, Hollie Denby as head of marketing, Søren Kristensen as client strategy director and head of DACH, Paul Shields as senior strategist, clare anderson as PR director, Jo Round as account director, Niamh Hogan as digital project manager and Andre Brites as motion designer.

MANCHESTER — Smoking Gun has strengthened its senior leadership team with the appointment of a new head of media: Carl Stroud has spent two decades as a reporter and editor on national titles, including 10 years at the Sun, most recently as website editor. He has also worked at W Communications as a senior media consultant. At Smoking Gun, Stroud will lead media strategy and the agency’s newsmaking and storytelling functions.

JOHANNESBURG — Levergy, an M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment group company and part of the M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, has appointed Melissa Daniels as managing director. Daniels will be tasked with reinforcing Levergy’s reputation as a leading South African ‘passion marketing’ agency. She has previously held senior roles at TBWA, where she was chief of staff for South Africa, and CEO of DDB South Africa.

LONDON — Abs Hassanali has joined invoice processing automation company Basware as global head of PR and communications. Hassanali joins the fintech from American software company Integral Ad Science (IAS), where he led communications in EMEA and helped with messaging during its IPO on Nasdaq in 2021. Prior to in-house roles, Hassanali worked at PR agencies including Montpellier, Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Yellow Jersey. In his new role, he will lead Basware’s external and international communications, as well as driving its thought leadership programme.

LONDON — Global sport and entertainment marketing agency Fuse has promoted Victoria Chew to managing partner, with responsibility for new business and client servicing across Fuse’s sports and entertainment portfolios, working with clients including Trivago, Vodafone, Asahi Super Dry and PepsiCo Entertainment. Chew, who has been with the agency for 10 years, will also continue to grow Fuse’ entertainment proposition, including music festivals, talent deals and music licensing. She reports to MD Sarah Kendall.

LIMASSOL, CYPRUS — Global fintech and financial services provider has appointed Despina Iapona as its head of PR and branding. Iapona has a decade of experience in marketing and communications, with a strong background in financial services, latterly as head of PR at online brokerage FxPro.