Comms guru Alex Aiken set to leave civil service

Executive director of communication will take up UAE government role
Alex Aiken Photo: GOV.UK

By Jim Dunton

09 Feb 2024

One of the government’s most senior communications gurus is set to quit the civil service for a new role in the Middle East, working for the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Alex Aiken is currently an executive director for government communication. He was responsible for creating the Government Communication Service, which he led until 2021, when Simon Baugh was appointed as its first chief executive.

The Cabinet Office confirmed Aiken will step down in the coming weeks. It added that despite Aiken’s seniority in government, his new role had not been referred to anti-corruption watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments for clearance.

"Alex Aiken will leave the civil service in April to take up a new role as a communications advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United Arab Emirates,” a spokesperson said.

"His new role has been vetted through the Cabinet Office business appointment rules process. He will abide by the standard conditions governing senior civil service external appointments.

"The process for appointing his successor will be announced in due course.”

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs is based in Abu Dhabi.

Aiken joined government in 2012 from Westminster City Council, where he was director of communications and strategy.

In addition to being responsible for government communication strategy, he managed the combined Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office communications team until 2021. He has also served as head of the communications profession.

Aiken is married to Cities of London and Westminster MP Nickie Aiken, who is a former leader of Westminster City Council.

He previously worked for Conservative Central Office, leading the party’s campaigns unit and its press office.

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