Government Communications Service expands leadership team

Deputy CEO and chief operating officer join newly-appointed chief exec Simon Baugh
Gemmaine Walsh and Lisa Hunter Credit: GCS

By Jim Dunton

12 Nov 2021

Government Communication Service chief executive Simon Baugh has made two new appointments to his top leadership team.

Former Department for Work and Pensions communications director Lisa Hunter becomes deputy chief executive at GCS while Gemmaine Walsh, who was most recently transformation director for the controversial Reshaping GCS programme, becomes chief operating officer.

Walsh was previously director of communications at the Department for Education.

Baugh was named as GCS’s first chief executive in September. He said Hunter’s remit will include taking charge of continuing improvements to cross-government media, social media and crisis communications capability.

Hunter is also tasked with ensuring that the civil service communications machine is using social media in a “bolder and more decisive fashion” and delivering on prime minister Boris Johnson’s desire for a digital hub that can communicate more effectively with the public.

Walsh will oversee GCS strategy for the next three years, with a view to raising professional standards and delivering corporate functions.

Baugh said both additions to his senior leadership team share his “passion” for helping government comms professionals deliver exceptional work that makes a real difference to the public.

“I am really looking forward to working with Lisa and Gem and I am delighted they will be part of my senior team,” he said.

“Lisa and Gem will be leading on my two biggest priorities – joining up communications on the most important issues the country faces and raising professional standards to build a communications profession fit for the future.”

Hunter served as a special adviser to both culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith in the early years of the coalition government. She worked in the private sector – including a stint at Lloyds of London – before joining DWP as a communications specialist .

Walsh has previously worked for DWP, the Ministry of Defence, and the Home Office. She worked for the University of Reading from 2012 to 2016.

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