One Young World, a global forum promoting young leaders, has been forced to drop Coulson after his arrest on Friday, The Observer newspaper wrote yesterday.
The organisation was founded by Euro RSCG Worldwide UK group chairman Kate Robertson and Havas chief executive David Jones.
Robertson told The Observer: ‘He can't do One Young World work at the moment, that is absolutely clear.’
She defended Coulson as ‘innocent until proven guilty’, adding: ‘I spoke to him at the beginning of this week, he said: "If you feel you need to step away, step away." And to be honest with you, I was just going: "I'm so devastated and so sorry". The whole thing was absolutely horrific.’
Robertson said she may have been ‘naive’ in handing the group’s comms work to Coulson and his nascent Elbrus Consultants business, telling the paper: ‘I can't say there haven't been a couple of big media figures who have said to me: "You must be crazy, don't you realise he is going to get arrested?", because there have been.’
News first emerged of Coulson’s move into the consultancy world in April, having resigned from his post as Downing Street director of comms in January.
Senior comms operators warned at the time that Coulson would struggle to move his consultancy beyond the phone hacking allegations that followed him to Downing Street.
Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chairman Peter Bingle said at the time: ‘Until the phone hacking story is finally laid to rest it will be a very brave client who lets it be known that they are being advised by Andy Coulson.’