UK health department comms director Sam Lister to move to Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

By on 14/03/2016 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Sam Lister has been appointed as the new group director of communications at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The director of communications at the UK Department of Health (DH), Sam Lister, has been appointed as the new group director of communications at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Lister, who has worked across communications strategy, campaigns, media relations, stakeholder engagement and corporate communications, and as a senior leader of the Government Communication Service and member of the GCS ministerial board, is expected to join BIS in the summer.

He said: “It is a great privilege to be joining the communications team at BIS and its wider network of organisations at such an important period for driving forward the Government’s programme for the economy, job creation, EU reform and supporting innovation.

“After four-and-half fantastic years at the Department of Health, the time felt right for a new challenge, and I greatly look forward to taking up my role.”

Alex Aiken, executive director of government communications at the Cabinet Office, said: “The communications work of BIS is key to the government’s plans for this Parliament, and I am very pleased that Sam is taking on this role, as well as continuing our vital wider work to enhance the government communications profession.

“His leadership and experience taking forward some of the most demanding communications in government over the last five years leaves him very strongly placed for these new challenges.”

Philippa Lloyd, BIS director-general of people, strategy and higher education, said: “I am delighted that Sam is to be our new group director of communications, bringing his wealth of experience from the Department of Health and wider media at such an important time for BIS. I and the team look forward to working with him.”

Key BIS campaigns include supporting the growth of the UK business sector, the recruitment of three million apprentices by 2020, promotion of the national living wage and work with UKTI and Cabinet Office on the GREAT Britain campaign. BIS and the Department of Health also share a minister and officials responsible for the Office for Life Sciences and promoting innovation such as medical research and genomics.

Lister led a number of major government comms programmes in recent years, including the domestic handling of Ebola, the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge, the development of the Stoptober stop smoking drive, local authority care reforms and campaigns to manage pressure on the NHS over winter and health service scrutiny in the politically febrile run-up to the General Election.

Before joining DH, Lister spent 11 years at The Times in senior reporting and management roles, including as a reporter, specialist correspondent, news editor and latterly for three years as the newspaper’s health editor.


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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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