Ross Hawkins is leaving the BBC after nearly two decades, joining Westminister public relations firm Hawthorn Advisors, the political correspondent confirmed to City A.M.
“It’s been brilliant fun [at the BBC], but this is the right opportunity at the right time,” Hawkins said.
The seasoned reporter, who joined the BBC in 2001, said one of the main reasons to join Hawthorn Advisors is because his former boss, ex-Today editor and former Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands, is one of the company directors.
Hawkins, who will start next week, said details about his focus or clientbase have not yet been decided. “We are going to work on that when I get there.”
He said that, since Westminster and the country as a whole are going through a period of immense change, “there is an interesting role to play when it comes to advising businesses and guiding them through that process, as there is also a degree of risk.”
Oxford-educated Hawkins said that after nearly two decades at the BBC, it was time to move on. His last day at the broadcaster is this Friday.
“I covered election after election, traveled up and down the country and met wonderful people, but it was time for something new,” he said.
Hawkins singled out the 2016 EU referendum campaign as one of his highlights at the broadcaster, as well as the last four turbulent years in Westminster politics.
“It has been a privilege to cover politics at Westminster and around the country, to get different voices and views on air, to break stories from beyond the bubble, but am excited to move on now,” he concluded.