One of the most prestigious jobs in Irish PR has been snapped up by Bernard Mallee, the former journalist and government communications man. Mallee will be the first to occupy the newly-created role of director of communications and marketing at Trinity College Dublin, a position that is thought to pay well above the €100,000 mark, perhaps closer to €150,000.
The creation of the job comes two years into the eight-year term of TCD provost Patrick Prendergast and will place Mallee firmly on the bridge between education and politics as budgetary pressures continue to dictate policy.
Most recently a partner with fellow government communications veteran Dan Pender in pr360 (where he did not have a shareholding), Mallee is on paper a solid candidate for the TCD role.
Before joining Pender, he worked as communications director and special adviser in both the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills, where he presumably learned a thing or two about the challenges facing third-level institutions.
He has also had a stint at O'Herlihy Communications, having cut his PR teeth in 2004 as a Fianna Fáil press officer. Before that, his journalism career involved work with the Irish Independent, RTÉ and the Connacht Tribune.
Mallee will report directly to Dr Prendergast when he starts his new job in August. He says he’s excited about advancing TCD’s “strategic position” at home and abroad. “In particular, my focus will be on establishing Trinity College Dublin as Ireland’s pre-eminent higher education institution and as a university of global consequence,” he says.
This is likely to see Mallee work hard to sell the university abroad and lure in cash-rich students from markets such as China and India – a no-brainer for a college with TCD’s heritage and reputation.
There will also be significant interaction with philanthropists, following a model that is well established in the US but is still in its infancy here.