Portland targets new business units as Oliver Pauley becomes UK MD

Portland is to launch dedicated financial, internal comms and digital/creative business units in 2015 as it announces the promotion of Oliver Pauley to UK MD and 13 new partners to its UK and international businesses.

Oliver Pauley: Appointed UK MD at Portland Communications
Oliver Pauley: Appointed UK MD at Portland Communications

Pauley, currently a partner who leads the Omnicom-owned company’s corporate comms and public affairs practices, will take his new role alongside the promotion of six employees to partners: Caroline Edgar, Louise Fish, Sam Ingleby, Kevin McKeever, Claire Thom and Ben Thornton.

They will join Pauley and George Pascoe-Watson on the board, with the latter made senior partner for high level engagement, "leading Portland’s interaction with high level stakeholders in the government and media and providing senior counsel to our clients".

Portland International will continue to be led by senior partners Martin Sheehan and Toby Orr. Again, seven existing employees - Justin Kerr-Stevens, Laura Kyrke-Smith, David MacKay, Jonathan McClory, Charles McLean, Idil Oyman and Robert Watkinson - will join the management board as partners.

Portland’s new Content and Digital Strategy unit will bring together the creative services team, which has doubled in size this year, plus the events team and head of writing David Bradshaw. It will be led by Mark Flanagan, who heads the current digital unit and previously ran digital comms at Downing Street under Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

A dedicated Financial Communications practice, "building on the work Portland has done over several years in the financial space", and a new Engagement practice focussed on internal communications will also launch in 2015. This will see the appointment of Portland’s first full time head of financial PR, whose identity is expected to be announced early next year along with the identity of the person heading the Engagement unit.

The group hired more than 40 staff in 2014 and opened two new offices in Washington and Doha, Qatar, adding to existing overseas offices in New York and Nairobi. It is understood to be negotiating on a new London office.

Portland managing partner Steve Morris told PRWeek: "2014 has been an extraordinary year for Portland; we’ve had fantastic growth on all sides of the business. We’ve got very ambitious plans for 2015 and to expand into new areas."

In November, Portland announced the appointment of Jonathan McClory as director of its new place branding practice. Earlier this year the group appointed Ed Perkins, formerly comms secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as a senior adviser.

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