The director of communications for Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday that he is resigning his position to take a job in London, England.

Andrew MacDougall, a long-time PMO spokesperson, was named to the position in April 2012. He began in the Prime Minister's Office as deputy press secretary in 2008.

MacDougall was Harper's seventh director of communication.

In a letter circulated to staff Wednesday morning, MacDougall said it's been a long-standing desire of his to move to London.

He said he will leave his position with the PMO in early September, following the G20 Leaders’ Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. He plans to move to London later this fall.

In his letter, MacDougall thanked his colleagues, members of parliament and cabinet ministers.

"Most of all, I am grateful for the prime minister's confidence," he wrote. "It has been a rare privilege to watch firsthand how the prime minister has led Canada through these tough economic times.  To have been a small part of this endeavour will forever rank as one of my proudest accomplishments."

His departure leaves the PMO with a big hole to fill, with the next general election about two years away.

"There's a lot of cleaning house that's under way in the senior political levels of government and within Harper's own office," CTV's Richard Madan said. "The loss of MacDougall isn't too terribly surprising."

MacDougall is taking a senior consulting position with Publicis Groupe, one of the world's largest communications firms.

CTV News' Kevin Newman and Colin Horgan on MacDougall:

Text of MacDougall's email announcement:


I started out here at the Prime Minister's Office as the Deputy Press Secretary in November 2008 – mere days before the eruption of coalition chaos. Following such an auspicious debut, I am amazed to even be here nearly five years later, let alone be the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications.

That said, it’s time to say goodbye to PMO and hello to the next opportunity. And so after the G-20 in St. Petersburg I will be taking my leave.

As many of you know, my desire to move to London, England is long-standing and deep-seated. And so I am happy to announce that I will be moving to London later this fall to assume a senior role with MSLGROUP, Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications and public engagement group. The company has written a few words about that (see attached release).

Before I go, I would like to say a big thank you to my first PMO boss Kory Teneycke, who rolled the dice and brought me to this office even though I had no press experience. I think it turned out alright.

Second, I would like to thank all of my colleagues past and present for showing me the ropes, sharing your knowledge, and imparting your wisdom. You helped to arm me for the top job and I will always be thankful to Nigel Wright for letting me sit in the Director’s chair.

To my team, thank you for letting me be your boss. On most days you made me look good, except when you screwed up and made yourselves look bad. Just kidding, I leave this place in your capable hands.

To our MPs and Ministers, it has been my honour to serve and assist you in whatever small way I have been able to and I wish you continued success.

Most of all, I am grateful for the Prime Minister's confidence. It has been a rare privilege to watch firsthand how the Prime Minister has led Canada through these tough economic times. To have been a small part of this endeavour will forever rank as one of my proudest accomplishments.

And thank you as well to the media for making this an interesting experience. (I know what you’re thinking, but I know how this town works; these words will fall into their hands and they’ll get whiny if I don’t say goodbye to them too.)

To Ray, Joanne and the rest of the team, I wish you all the best as we push to 2015 and beyond.

Until we meet again,