Stephen Abell

Stephen Abell: leaving to join a communications consultancy

Credit: PCC
The director of the Press Complaints Commission, Stephen Abell, has announced he will be leaving at the end of this month.

Abell has worked at the industry body for a decade and has been its director since the beginning of 2010, when he replaced Tim Toulmin.

In a statement issued this morning by the PCC, Abell said: "It has been a great privilege to work over the years with the committed, wonderful staff and board members of the PCC. I have been involved with the PCC for more than a decade, and I decided last year that it was time for a new challenge.

"I remain a firm supporter of enhanced self-regulation for the press, maintaining all that is good about the work of the PCC, and am confident that this will be achieved as a result of the Leveson Inquiry."

Lord Hunt, who replaced Baroness Buscombe as chair of the PCC last October, said: "When I joined the PCC last year, Stephen and I agreed that we would work together until we were in a position to propose a new structure for self-regulation of the press.

"I have valued his assistance in this, and his professionalism in leading the PCC's staff as they continued their important work during a difficult period. It is testament to him that the service to complainants, both those in the public eye and those without claim to celebrity, has improved and expanded over the last few years."

The PCC has hired Michael McManus in the role of "director of transition" while the proposals for a reform of press self-regulation are developed further.

Abell is leaving to become a partner at a communications consultancy, Pagefield, where he will oversee media relations and crisis communication.

Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry into press standards last month, Abell said the PCC was "primarily a complaints handling body" that had taken on "aspects of a regulator" without the structure and power to properly execute them.

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