Weber Shandwick swoops for top BPPA lobbyist Alex Deane

Weber Shandwick has poached a director from arch-rival Bell Pottinger Public Affairs to lead its public affairs team.

Coalition consultancy: Alex Deane and Tamora Langley
Coalition consultancy: Alex Deane and Tamora Langley

Former Conservative Party staffer Alex Deane is to join Weber Shandwick as head of public affairs, as the agency looks to bring its lobbying team back to full strength.

Deane's departure is a blow to BPPA, depriving the agency of one of its best-connected Tory consultants. He signed for BPPA in February 2011, having headed campaign group Big Brother Watch. From 2004 to 2005 Deane was chief of staff to Tim Collins and David Cameron during their respective periods as shadow education secretaries. He is also a qualified barrister and world debating champion.

Deane is expected to join Weber Shandwick after the party conference season. The agency is also promoting senior director Tamora Langley, who stood for the Liberal Democrats in the 2010 general election, to the role of deputy head of public affairs. Weber Shandwick corporate comms and public affairs chairman Jon McLeod said the pair would run 'the first true coalition public affairs practice'.

Weber Shandwick has been rebuilding its public affairs team following the departures of director Luke Akehurst and head of public affairs and corporate comms Joann Robertson. Akehurst joined the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, while Robertson moved to Ketchum Pleon. Last month, Weber Shandwick hired government lawyer Ruth McEwen as an associate director.

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