Profile: Guto Harri goes from Boris Johnson to News International PR chief

Guto Harri Guto Harri at the London mayoral electoral declaration

Related Stories

Guto Harri has never been one to duck a difficult challenge.

The former BBC journalist has begun work as director of communications for Rupert Murdoch's embattled News International.

But if anyone is surprised that the man who masterminded London Mayor Boris Johnson's successful re-election campaign this month relishes the heat of battle, they need only take a closer look at his CV.

During his 18 years with the BBC, the Cardiff-born Welsh-speaker's assignments included covering the collapse of communism in East Germany, the bloody coup which overthrew Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, and reporting from inside Iraq during the first Gulf War.

His time at the BBC also included stints as the the News Channel's chief political correspondent, North America business correspondent, and Rome correspondent

After leaving the corporation in 2007, he joined a public relations firm, and spent a brief stint - four days in fact - as adviser to Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the run-up to the controversial 2008 presidential election.

'Very decent people'

Not content there, he took on another tough assignment: selling the maverick former Conservative MP Boris Johnson to London.

Start Quote

Not every politician is corrupt, not every banker gets an enormous bonus and doesn't think they give a monkey's for anything, and not everyone who works at News International was involved in phone hacking”

End Quote Guto Harri Quoted in The Guardian

Now, after many months of allegations surrounding phone hacking at some of Mr Murdoch's newspapers - which led to the closure of Britain's biggest seller, the News of the World - Mr Harri's new role with News International may appear to be his most difficult to date.

He told the Guardian newspaper: "I hope to combat some of the hysteria that is rife in British public life.

"Not every politician is corrupt, not every banker gets an enormous bonus and doesn't think they give a monkey's for anything, and not everyone who works at News International was involved in phone hacking," he said.

He added: "I know very good people who write for the Times and for The Sun and they are first class journalists and they are very decent people.

"One of the reasons why I am more than happy, I'm delighted to take the job, is that those people cannot be tarred with the same soggy brush as just a few people who were either involved in criminal activity, which is a matter for the courts, or you know, were seemingly out of control."

The 45-year-old Cardiff-born father-of-three is the son of Dr Harri Pritchard Jones, an author and retired psychiatrist, and Lenna, a former BBC Wales producer.

He studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford, where he was a contemporary of Boris Johnson's. Outside the pressure of work, he enjoys rowing, sailing, fishing and cooking.

Guto Harri and Sian Williams Guto Harri worked alongside the likes of Sian Williams when he was a BBC journalist

He was thought at one time to have been in the running for the job of Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications, when the post eventually went to Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World.

Mr Coulson eventually resigned from his Downing Street role as the phone hacking row escalated.

Mr Harri told the Guardian that he accepted that moving directly from London's City Hall to News International could be seen in some quarters as further proof of the close ties between Mr Murdoch and senior Conservatives.

He added: "I'm totally reconciled that the move will be seen in the media as part of an irresistible geometrical pattern between the Conservatives and News International."

But he said he had never been a member of the Conservatives or any other political party.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories



  • Member of staff at The National Archives in KewFree information?

    The reaction when 13 departments were sent the same FOI request

  • Dippy on display in the Hintze Hall. Photo by Nathalie DiazFarewell to Dippy

    Your stories of the most famous dinosaur in Kensington

  • Steve Easterbrook New McJob

    The Watford fan taking the helm at McDonald's

  • Motorists make their way over Hannahstown Hill on January 29, 2015 in Belfast, In pictures

    Wintry images of UK's most widespread snow so far this year

  • Composite picture of David Cameron and Nick Clegg on separate official visitsMarginal choices?

    New funds for your town - but is visiting minister after your vote?

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.