Director of External Communications, Virgin Media
Location: Hammersmith, London
Closing date: 16 February 2018
About Virgin Media
Virgin Media is at the heart of the digital economy. It offers four multi award-winning services in the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.
The company’s dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses.
It is expanding its network through a multibillion investment programme – Project Lightning – which will reach an additional 4 million premises to 17 million homes and business premises.
Virgin Media’s interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand TV, apps and games, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones. This was brought together at the end of 2016 with a re-launch of its TV service around its new V6 box in the UK.
Virgin Media offers 4G mobile, innovative services such as data rollover and free messaging on social media platforms and operates wifi hotspots across the UK. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.
The Company has a significant B2B operation, Virgin Media Business, which supports entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest speeds and tailor-made services.
Virgin Media is headed by CEO Tom Mockridge who joined in 2013. He is supported by a 10-strong Executive Committee. Details of the members can be found here:  http://www.virginmedia.com/corporate/about-us/management-team.html
Together with its partners, Virgin Media is 25,000 people strong.
Virgin Media is owned by Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, with operations in more than 30 countries. In 2016 Virgin Media’s total revenue was £4.8bn.
Following its acquisition by Liberty Global in 2013, Virgin Media is today a major competitive force in digital communications in the UK and Ireland, bringing the fight to BT and Sky.
Virgin Media is a significant investor in the country’s digital infrastructure – and proud of it. External Communications and, more broadly, the Corporate Affairs function of Virgin Media supports the Company with its strategic priorities. It champions public policies that encourage investment; it promotes Virgin Media’s products and services to create consumer demand; and it builds the reputation of Virgin Media as a forward thinking, innovative, sustainable and growing company.
This is an opportunity to lead external communications at one of the most dynamic companies in the digital economy.
The post holder will run the External Communications team, with responsibilities for media relations, the corporate website and social channels, speech writing and industry analyst engagement.
Managing a team of seven, the Director of External Communications is responsible for the full spectrum of communications at Virgin Media. This ranges from proactive public policy campaigns, quarterly financial results, reactive crisis management, building positive brand awareness and promoting the Company’s products and services through stunts and events.
Reporting to the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, the post holder will play a leadership role in the wider Corporate Affairs department, which also includes internal communications, public affairs, regulatory affairs and sustainability.
Develop a fully integrated external communications strategy for Virgin Media. This must mobilise support from the media, external stakeholders and consumers around the Company’s objectives, products and services.
Work cross-functionally across the highest levels of the business to create an effective narrative and build the Virgin Media story. Key stakeholders include Executive Committee members, divisional heads, Legal and Marketing.
Identify and pre-empt issues that have the potential to damage the Company’s reputation and employee engagement, and develop plans to mitigate them.
Act as a trusted advisor to leaders across the business on corporate reputation, policy issues and media engagement. This will include the delivery of speeches, by-lined articles and briefings.
Operate a highly effective day-to-day media relations function, managing proactive briefings with members of the press and handling reactive enquiries, during office hours and out-of-hours.
Manage, develop and integrate Virgin Media’s corporate digital channels into the External Communications strategy. The channels currently include virginmedia.com/corporate and @VirginMediaCorp.
Provide leadership to the External Communications team, developing individual members of the team and managing performance.Design and deliver corporate campaigns to influence the public policy agenda in Virgin Media’s favour.
Design and deliver eye-catching, stunts, events and experiential activity to support product launches and drive public awareness.
Manage external suppliers – including PR agencies – and a budget.
Operate an effective news planning function to manage the flow company announcements and identify external news relevant to the company and the sectors it operates in.
Work closely with Investor Relations and Virgin Media’s parent company Liberty Global around the announcement of market sensitive news and quarterly financial results.
Knowledge, experience and skills
* Degree-level education.
* Extensive experience of working in communications at a senior level in issues-rich and complex organisations.
* Top-rate written and verbal communications skills.
* Experience of crisis communications and the ability to think on feet to provide expert advice in challenging situations.
* Well-networked in the media, with an in-depth understanding of how the media operates, a natural flair for news coupled with excellent news and editorial judgement.
* Financially literate with a good commercial sense.
* Experience of managing and motivating teams through change.
* Experience of dealing with senior executives.
* Experience of working in digital communications.
* Strong strategic and operational planning skills.
* Strong management and team leadership skills
* Highly collaborative and proactive.
* Takes personal responsibility for delivery.
* Positive attitude to work.
* Calm when under pressure.
* Acts with utmost integrity.
Applications close on Friday 16 February.