THURSDAY 25 FEB 2021 1:08 PM


One of government’s experienced directors of communication, Emily Tofield, has been appointed as the University of Sussex’s first director of communications, marketing and advancement.

Tofield will join Sussex from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), where she has been the group director of communications and information services, as well as overseeing the Government Communication Service’s successful design, branding and animation agency Design102, since 2016.

Tofield will lead the university’s communications, marketing and advancement division, which drives engagement with stakeholders and audiences inside and outside of the institution. 

Tim Westlake, chief operating officer, says, “Emily has a vast record of accomplishment in engaging audiences, creating high-impact campaigns covering recruitment, awareness raising and behavioural change. Like the university, she is driven by a desire to make a positive difference to society. She has a wealth of experience directing multi-audience communications, marketing and recruitment strategies in global markets and, through Emily’s leadership, we plan to take our ambition to create a better world to the next level.”

Tofield joined the MoJ having previously led the communications functions in both the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Cabinet Office. In her most recent role at the MoJ she has been responsible for a multi award-winning communications directorate, serving one of the government’s biggest operational delivery departments, with around 75,000 employees across the country. 

Tofield says, “I firmly believe in Sussex’s vision to create a university that is driven by progressive education and research. Sussex has built its impressive reputation on daring to be different and that is something hugely motivating for me. By using the collective skill and expertise across the university we will help create a new Sussex story for these extraordinary times, ensuring the university is not just part of, but continues to lead a global movement for change.”

Tofield began her career as an ITN news trainee before joining the BBC in 2002, where she was a producer and senior producer on several of the organisation’s major news programmes, including the News at Ten and the Andrew Marr Show. During her time at the BBC, she also worked as the arts & culture producer for BBC News, as well as producing and directing several arts documentaries for the BBC News Channel.

She left the BBC in 2009 to join the Cabinet Office where she rose from chief press officer to head of communications and ministerial press secretary. In 2014, she became the cross-government head of media relations, before moving to Defra as its group director of communications.

Tofield is currently a board trustee of the Further Education Trust for Leadership, an independent further education think tank.