Emma Gilpin-Jacobs quits as Director of Communications to the DPM

Three months ago we reported: Emma Gilpin-Jacobs appointed as Director of Communications to the DPM.

Today we report: Emma Gilpin-Jacobs quits as Director of Communications to the DPM.

Here’s how PR Week reported the swift departure:

The former FT comms chief confirmed the Lib Dem line that she had resigned from the post due to the realisation that the position demanded more political focus than her corporate comms experience.

She told PRWeek: “I chose to leave because my strategic global, corporate-focused communications experience will be better utilised in a less day-to day-political operational role – and it’s all very amicable.”

The party said in a statement: “During the audit phase of the job, it became clear that the requirements of this position at this stage in the parliament have a greater political and operational focus than the more corporate communications role that was originally envisaged, which is Emma’s specialism.

“The work that Emma has done to identify the communications needs over the remaining period of this parliament has been invaluable.

“We therefore wish Emma all the best and hope that we can work together again in the future.”

Gilpin-Jacobs added: “I met some wonderful people within the Lib Dem party and wish them all the very best. We will keep in touch and may even work together again some day.”

No news yet on how Nick Clegg intends to replace her.

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  • Bill Le Breton 2nd Feb '14 - 11:04am

    We should thank Ms Gilpin-Jacobs for her decision stemming as it obviously does from professional realisation that, to use her words, the job needs political nous. Second realisation should be that it needs familiarity with the Party and its particular and unique values. Third realisation is that political communication is all about campaigning.

    Those who appointed her should not be any part in her replacement. 15 months and counting.

  • Tony Dawson 2nd Feb '14 - 11:31am

    Will Nick Clegg have the time (and nous) to devote to sit back and determine that his (and the Party’s) communications would put them in Ofsted ‘remedial’ and a completely different approach is required? As Bill-le-Breton says, the choosers are the problem, not the chosen.

  • LOL, Guido!
    Maybe it’s code for: “The last three months haven’t exactly been a rip-roaring success with regard to the Liberal Democrats’ corporate-focused PR, have they?”

  • Martin Pierce 3rd Feb '14 - 10:48am

    So it would be really interesting to see the job spec and evaluation criteria that were used in the selection process. Another Nock Clegg triumph!

  • peter tyzack 3rd Feb '14 - 11:16am

    I agree with Bill… for once..

  • Let’s not make this bigger than it is. How many of us have been involved with recruitment and ended up with an employee (or candidate!) who turned out to be not as good as they seemed at interview / selection, or not what we hoped for?

    If it’s a mismatch, best for all concerned to move on quickly.

  • tpfkar Emotionally I sympathise with your position, but as a recruitment professional in my former life, you waste huge time and resources, especially on senior appointments if you don’t get them “right” first time. I agree, having got there, it is correct to recognise and admit it, not like so much in politics (nowhere more than on LDV!) where making some lame excuse (“explanation”) seems to be the order of the day.

  • PS And remember we are wasting members’ hard-earned fundraising efforts and donations. Not very good.
    It would be interesting to know what criteria were set, and how and by whom they were judged. It will be noted that some sharp comments were posted at the time EGJ was appointed.

  • Simon Banks 3rd Feb '14 - 4:42pm


    Certainly apparently excellent candidates for jobs can disappoint, But if Emma’s comments are accurate, it seems the criteria on which she was appointed and the expectation she was given of the job did not match the actual job. That too is common enough, but it’s never forgiveable. One of the fundamentals of any competent appointment process is to get a clear idea of the job and the characteristics a good candidate needs, and put them into the job description and the person spec. If that wasn’t done properly in this case, it was an expensive and very avoidable mistake.

  • Just to say I fully agree with Tim13 and Simon Banks’ comments. I wasn’t saying mistakes weren’t made, or that there is no cost to this, but more that a couple of other comments – and our critics reactions – are over the top and it doesn’t help us to rise to them.

  • Richard Boyd, OBE DL 3rd Feb '14 - 7:53pm

    Bulls Eye! Well said Bill le Breton.

  • JohnTilley 10th Nov ’13 – 6:18pm
    Well I don’t like to say he told you so – but that is exactly what Matthew did. Maybe people at the top of the party should start listening to people like Matthew. This is what he said in November —
    Matthew Huntbach 5th Nov ’13 – 10:31pm
    Someone from the business elite background just like all the others who cluelessness about the lives ordinary people live and how our party works on the ground

    As so often Matthew Huntbach puts into words just what I am thinking.

    Clegg and his coterie need to get out of the Westminster Bubble not recruit from it.

  • Well said, Matthew, and John Tilley.

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