Fiona Cookson has been appointed to the new role of director of external affairs at the British Film Institute.

Currently head of external affairs and press secretary to Vince Cable, Cookson started her career as a financial PR in Leeds.

“Fiona’s experience at the heart of British policy-making will be invaluable as we seek to maximise opportunities for the UK’s film and screen industries, and demonstrate their importance as drivers for growth in the UK economy overall,” explained Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI.

“Fiona’s appointment comes as UK film is riding high both culturally and commercially, and she joins us at a exciting and dynamic moment as we work to build on this success by developing ambitious and exciting plans to support film companies, champion filmmakers and inspire audiences.”

The new external affairs directorate at the BFI incorporates Film Policy, Creative Europe Desk UK, the BFI Research and Statistics Unit, BFI Certification Unit and Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.

“The BFI is a powerful champion for British film at a time when the industry is enjoying such commercial and critical success. I am really looking forward to being part of the team that does such a great job serving filmmakers and audiences across the UK,” added Cookson, who’s also worked in the Home Office and Department of Health.

Prior to joining the Government, she was account director at Weber Shandwick.