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New director of communications joins the WMCA senior team

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has appointed Simon Wren to its newly-created director of communications role.

Simon has more than 20 years’ experience as a communications chief at the highest levels of Government.

He has previously held posts as director of communications at the Home Office, Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

He was also head of news at the Department for Transport, and played a vital role in central Government communications following the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001.

He takes up the role of director with a view to building on the work underway at the WMCA to grow the economy and improve the lives of people across the region.

He said:

“I’m delighted to be joining the WMCA at this exciting time, to help develop and lead the way we communicate with our diverse communities across the region.

“The WMCA is already delivering a wide range of programmes designed to make a positive impact on the lives of local people – and my role will be to ensure our complex agenda for a thriving, inclusive economy is communicated clearly to an engaged audience, both at home and abroad.

“I cannot wait to get started.”

Deborah Cadman OBE, chief executive of the WMCA, said:

“Simon’s appointment will bring an incredible wealth of experience to the authority. He has held a number of senior positions within central Government communications and has a track record of delivering exceptional communications around often-complicated and vast subjects.

“Simon takes up a newly-created post as director of communications at an important time in the development of the WMCA. He joins a strong team which is already doing fantastic work to help improve the lives of people across our region. We look forward to working with him to develop a coherent, trusted voice for the organisation.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said:

“Simon is a communications heavyweight with an impressive record of delivering high-impact campaigns for central Government.

“The West Midlands is undergoing an economic and cultural renaissance, and is fast establishing itself as one of the UK’s best places to live, work and learn. We have much to celebrate in the coming years, such Coventry becoming City of Culture in 2021, the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and the potential for growth from HS2.

“But we also face a number of challenges, from increasing opportunities for our young people to ensuring our workforce has the skills to support the region’s growing economic strengths in aerospace, construction, automotive technology and advanced manufacturing.

“We have a great story to tell. Simon’s calibre, experience and knowledge will be invaluable for the WMCA as we look to communicate this narrative of rapid economic growth, while providing the best possible opportunities for the communities we serve.”

Simon started work in the civil service in 1985, serving in a number of policy roles in the Ministry of Defence and overseas, including in support of UN and NATO forces deployed in Bosnia, before becoming chief press officer in 2000 and acting Director of News in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in 2001. Simon was in the initial deployment to Afghanistan and in 2003, he was again involved in an operational tour as the command media adviser to UK Gulf Forces deployed in Iraq, for which he was awarded a CBE. He then went on to director-level roles at the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and finally the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

A keen Tottenham Hotspur fan and music lover, he was named as one of the top ten public sector communications operatives in 2017 by PRWeek.

Simon joins the organisation in November.

More information from Alistair Harris, media officer, on 0121 214 7278, mobile 07816 607462, email

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