August 14, 2013 10:47 am
Updated: August 14, 2013 12:28 pm

Harper’s director of communications quits

Andrew MacDougall leaves the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on August 30, 2011. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff personally footed the $90,000 bill for embattled Sen. Mike Duffy's improper housing expenses.Harper spokesman MacDougall says Duffy was unable to make a timely repayment of the expenses.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s director of communications is leaving for a new job in the United Kingdom.

Andrew MacDougall is joining MSLGROUP, a strategic communications firm in London, as a senior executive consultant in November.

He will stay on at the Prime Minister’s office until after the G20 Leaders’ Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in early September.

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“So, I have news,” MacDougall tweeted Wednesday, linking to the release.

“Andrew’s unique combination of political communication, crisis communication, and digital media experience will bring a fresh perspective to our clients as they navigate an increasingly complex communications environment,”  Jeremy Sice, CEO of MSLGROUP, said in a statement.

In a letter to staff, MacDougall thanked his colleagues past and present, including former chief of staff Nigel Wright, who resigned his post in May amid a Senate expense scandal.

“Most of all, I am grateful for the Prime Minister’s confidence,” writes MacDougall.

“It has been a rare privilege to watch firsthand how the Prime Minister has led Canada through these tough economic times.  To have been a small part of this endeavour will forever rank as one of my proudest accomplishments.”

He also thanks the media for making this “an interesting experience.”

“(I know what you’re thinking, but I know how this town works; these words will fall into their hands and they’ll get whiny if I don’t say goodbye to them too),” he writes.

MacDougall has worked as director of communications since April 2012.

He replaced Angelo Persichilli, who resigned after just seven months on the job.

MacDougall was Harper’s eighth director of communications and his seventh since becoming prime minister in 2006.

Below is the full text of MacDougall’s letter:

Friends/Colleagues,

I started out here at the Prime Minister’s Office as the Deputy Press Secretary in November 2008 – mere days before the eruption of coalition chaos. Following such an auspicious debut, I am amazed to even be here nearly five years later, let alone be the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications.

That said, it’s time to say goodbye to PMO and hello to the next opportunity. And so after the G-20 in St. Petersburg I will be taking my leave.

As many of you know, my desire to move to London, England is long-standing and deep-seated. And so I am happy to announce that I will be moving to London later this fall to assume a senior role with MSLGROUP, Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications and public engagement group. The company has written a few words about that (see attached release).

Before I go, I would like to say a big thank you to my first PMO boss Kory Teneycke, who rolled the dice and brought me to this office even though I had no press experience. I think it turned out alright.

Second, I would like to thank all of my colleagues past and present for showing me the ropes, sharing your knowledge, and imparting your wisdom. You helped to arm me for the top job and I will always be thankful to Nigel Wright for letting me sit in the Director’s chair.

To my team, thank you for letting me be your boss. On most days you made me look good, except when you screwed up and made yourselves look bad. Just kidding, I leave this place in your capable hands.

To our MPs and Ministers, it has been my honour to serve and assist you in whatever small way I have been able to and I wish you continued success.

Most of all, I am grateful for the Prime Minister’s confidence. It has been a rare privilege to watch firsthand how the Prime Minister has led Canada through these tough economic times.  To have been a small part of this endeavour will forever rank as one of my proudest accomplishments.

And thank you as well to the media for making this an interesting experience. (I know what you’re thinking, but I know how this town works; these words will fall into their hands and they’ll get whiny if I don’t say goodbye to them too.)

To Ray, Joanne and the rest of the team, I wish you all the best as we push to 2015 and beyond.

Until we meet again,

Andrew

With files from The Canadian Press

© 2013 Shaw Media

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