Queen's PR will return to Centrica

THE QUEEN'S press secretary, Simon Lewis, is to return to gas seller and car rescuer Centrica next year to run one of its key businesses.

Mr Lewis, who will complete a two-year secondment to Buckingham Palace in September, is being groomed by Centrica chief executive Roy Gardner for a key role at either the newly acquired AA or the expanding Goldfish financial services arm.

Mr Lewis, who has been credited with presiding over a subtle improvement in the Royal Family's public image since his arrival in September 1998 after a febrile period for the monarchy, would not comment on his future yesterday.

But he is known to be keen to return to the business world after "a fascinating and very different time at Buckingham Palace, but in a job that by its nature should be done only on a short-term basis".

A Centrica insider added: "Roy Gardner is a great fan of Simon's and has told him that there will be a substantial business for him to run on his return rather than returning to the public affairs arena.'

Mr Lewis, who is also known to have impressed Tony Blair, is expected to be given one of two jobs as Centrica prepares to assimilate the AA into its existing businesses and build on its huge customer base of 9.5 million motorists.

One option for the career public relations expert - whose experience has included working for the Social Democrats, SG Warburg and NatWest - is building up the AA's publishing and traffic information side and melding it together with Goldfish's successful shopping guides.

The AA already publishes a range of travel guide books, a members' handbook and its members' magazine, a business which Centrica believes will dovetail well with the Goldfish consumer guides on buying expensive products such as cars, computers, domestic appliances, home entertainments and financial services.

These guides - 19 in total - are already offered to the million holders of its Goldfish credit card and are likely to be expanded further.

The other option for Mr Lewis would be to build up Centrica's financial services activities, again melding Goldfish's business in this area - such as its credit-card and home insurance services - with the range of financial services offered by the AA.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests