The Sun’s former head of news, Chris Pharo, has joined 72Point, the PR arm of independent news agency group SWNS, as chief operations officer.
Pharo worked for The Sun for 25 years, heading up its news department for more than a decade before rising to the position of associate editor.
72Point is the PR arm of SWNS and one of the largest suppliers of content to The Sun and other national publications. 72Point specialises in generating research-based news coverage with its market research arm OnePoll.
Clients include Asda, Heinz, Thomas Cook and Barclays.
In his new role, Pharo will oversee the core business of 72Point and OnePoll, with an aim to generate brand exposure through news coverage.
He will also head up London operations for SWNS, which includes 72Point, the National News agency and story-brokering service Talk To The Press.
Pharo has also been briefed to launch new ventures in media training and crisis management.
Paul Walters, MD of SWNS and 72Point, said: “It’s an honour to welcome Chris to the SWNS family. Someone of his calibre, ability and experience is a fantastic addition to the business.”
Pharo added: “72Point is ready now to build on its excellent foundations and branch out. As well as our exceptionally healthy core business, we have many other strings to our bow. The future is a very exciting prospect.”
Towards the end of his time at The Sun, Pharo faced two trials over alleged illegal payments to public officials, but was cleared by a jury at the Old Bailey in October 2015 after four years under suspicion.
He added: “It’s great to be back in the saddle and working for yet another premier operation. There are many challenges ahead and I can’t wait to take them on alongside the dynamic team at 72Point.”
Pharo is one of several appointments SWNS has made from the journalist world in recent months, including former Sunday Mirror news editor and Daily Mirror reporter Euan Stretch, PA’s former head of video, Isabelle Potts, and Steve Martin, former group head of content for Trinity Mirror in Scotland.