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COI departures continue as CEO Lund exits

Mark Lund, chief executive of the embattled Central Office of Information (COI), is leaving his post at the heart of the Government's marketing and communication activity less than two years after his arrival.

COI departures continue as CEO Lund exits

COI departures continue as CEO Lund exits

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Lund, who left Delaney Lund Knox Warren (DLKW), the advertising agency he helped found in 2000, to join the COI, is leaving to launch a new venture in the private sector.

Lund said: "I was delighted to be appointed as COI chief executive and I am proud of what we have achieved in the last two years, but I can’t escape the fact that I am at heart someone who wants to run their own business more than anything else.

"I would like to thank all COI staff for the creativity, professionalism and support they have shown me."

The process of finding Lund's successor is said to be underway, however the COI will have to wait until the findings of the review of the Government's direct communciations to be published before a full job hunt can begin in earnest.

A COI spokesperson said the Cabinet Office is expected to publish its findings "shortly", and added: "Mark will be with us up until the end of May, working hard to ensure a smooth and successful transition over the next three months."

Lund's exit comes as plans for a radical centralisation of the marketing function across the Government and its executive agencies is being considered in the Cabinet Office's communications review.

The newly elected coalition Government froze all of its non-essential advertising and marketing activities in May last year. As part of the cost-cutting exercise, the COI was forced to cut 40% of its workforce, some 295 jobs, between August and November 2010.

The move formed part of wider Government cuts aimed at reducing the national deficit, and has resulted in £133 million worth of savings within its first nine months.

Last week (2 March), new efficiency measures were announced that will stay in place until the end of the Spending Review period in 2015. It restricts spend on new advertising and marketing activities to "essential" campaigns.

As part of the new measures, central Government must give permission for any marketing campaigns that require spend of more than £100,000.

The new procurement measures followed Sir Philip Green’s conclusion in October 2010 that Government had failed to make the most of its scale, buying power and credit rating.

Alex Altman, the managing director of M4C, the WPP media agency appointed in February 2010 to handle the COI's media duties, left his lead role in August to become chief executive of Initiative in the UK.

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