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Telegraph Group appoints Howard's press chief Black to lead PR

LONDON - As recriminations about the election defeat continue to rumble, Michael Howard's press chief Guy Black has been hired by the Telegraph Group as corporate affairs director.

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Black was hired by Conservative Party leader Michael Howard as his new press secretary in November 2003, after already having a reputation for improving relations between the UK press and the Royal Family during his time as director of the Press Complaints Commission, where he had worked since 1996.

He will join the Telegraph in September and will work across the publisher's departments, including editorial, and will develop its external and internal communications.

He will report to group chief executive Murdoch MacLennan, who said: "Guy's experience at the highest levels of politics and of the newspaper industry will be a great asset to the group as we drive through the changes necessary to build on the Telegraph's market leadership."

During his time at the head of the self-regulating body for the newspaper industry from 1996 to 2003, Black had to pick his way through rows over intrusive press coverage of celebrities and the Royal Family, as well as handle arguments between broadsheets and tabloids about the role of the PCC.

"The Telegraph is one of the most powerful brands in the business. Under its new owners, huge opportunities are open to it and I look forward to playing a full part in keeping the Telegraph Group -- and its great newspapers -- at the top of the premier league," Black said.

Before joining the PCC, Black was a special adviser to the then Tory secretary of state for energy John Wakeham, and he has also worked as a desk officer within the Conservative research department.

The Daily Telegraph's May circulation was 915,711, up 0.35% on April.

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