MONDAY 14 MAR 2016 4:33 PM


The planned changes to the leadership of the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) have come into effect as of this afternoon. Chief executive Steve Doswell, who has led the organisation since 2011, will be handing over the top role to Jennifer Sproul, the IoIC’s head of commercial.

The changeover has been intended since August, when Sproul came on board in the commercial role. Doswell wrote in an email to members, “The rationale was – and remains – that the next phase in IoIC’s development would require an added commercial focus, without for one moment diluting our identity as a non-profit professional body that exists to develop IC practitioners and the fast-emerging IC profession as a whole.”

Sproul adds, "Our responsibility from a member point of view is what we need to do is continue to build up our portfolio of activities, deliver the value that they’re looking for, whether that’s from professional development to awards to content to knowledge and to work across all of our spheres of activities. And also making sure that we create more funding so that we can invest in our activities and invest in raising the profile of internal comms and to its value for business."

Sproul has 12 years of experience in professional bodies through her time in business development and marketing for the Market Research Society. Sproul will now become the ‘chief executive-designate’ until the IoIC’s AGM on 5 May, at which point Doswell will officially step down. She noted her thanks to Doswell for his years of work at the organisation's helm. Though Sproul does not come from an internal commuincations background, she is an experienced leader and will be supported by the IoIC's president Suzanne Peck and board, the members of which are largely current practitioners.

Doswell says, “When I became chief executive in January 2011, I saw the role as a three-year change programme, one intended to enable IoIC to become in practice, behaviour and outlook the professional institute it had become in name and law less than one year earlier. In fact it has now been over five years and it is a good time for us all to start something new."

The institute’s leadership has expressed confidence in Sproul’s capability and leadership potential. Doswell adds, “I have been a member of this organisation for nearly 30 years and had been actively involved as a volunteer since the early 1990s before taking on my present role. IoIC is precious to me as it is for so many of our members. I was determined to hand over the stewardship to someone who would cherish it and who could also bring a renewed financial strength, to take IoIC further on its journey to become the universally acknowledged institute for internal communication in the UK and beyond.”

The IoIC has been providing a home for the UK’s internal comms community since 1949 when the British Association of Industrial Editors was established. The organisation has changed along with the profession of internal communications and has continued to evolve by promoting professionalisation, adherence to high working standards and the recognition of best practice through the IoIC Awards and other accolades.

Sproul says the IoIC's unique history will allow it to build the reputation and influence of internal communications within companies, "Knowing historically where IoIC has come from being an association for the industrial editors, now we’re in a sphere where internal communication and employee engagement operates very differently and with a much more vast and wider skillset than it used to. The job for us is to make sure that we promote that and also that we establish our services to support that as well."