Carol Fisher, the former head of sales at CLT Radio, has been
revealed as the surprise choice for chief executive of the Central
Office of Information, the Government’s advertising body.
Fisher, who left CLT in September following its decision to sell its UK
stations, which include Talk Radio, has emerged at the top of the
five-strong shortlist to succeed Tony Douglas, who has returned to
agency life as chairman of FCB Europe.
Fisher’s appointment to the #90,000-a-year job is expected to be
announced next week following formal approval by Peter Kilfoyle, the
Cabinet Office minister responsible for the COI.
Fisher was one of three women to make the shortlist. Only one of them
had experience at the COI - a clear signal that ministers want a fresh
approach at the organisation.
Fisher is said to have impressed the Cabinet Office because she had
already changed gear once in her career by switching from brewing to
She started as a marketing assistant at Reckitt & Colman, before
becoming a brand manager at Rank Hovis McDougall and then Grand
Metropolitan. She then moved on to Holsten Distributors as marketing
She was managing director of CLT UK Radio Sales before moving sideways
to become the strategic planning director last year. Since leaving the
company this autumn, Fisher has been a consultant to Walsh Trott Chick
Smith and the Media Foundry.
Fisher takes over at a time when the COI is facing a review of its
future operations. Ministers are considering the way Whitehall
departments buy their ads and pay for the COI as part of an overhaul of
the Government’s procurement policy. They are also looking at the COI’s
network of regional press offices.
COI staff are said to be nervous about the latest investigation, having
just gone through a ’slimming down’ reorganisation under Douglas, which
involved job cuts. The organisation now employs 325 people.