Ex-Britain in Europe man Buckby sets up agency

Simon Buckby, the former campaign director at pro-euro group Britain in Europe (BiE), has left Luther Pendragon to start his own consultancy, under the cerebral name Champollion.

Buckby described the venture as a 'specialist media consultancy' targeting 'organisations that have media issues about public policy', and has the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) as a founding client. He said he planned to have eight to ten staff within a year, composed of 'former journalists and senior press people'.

The firm is named after French archaeologist Jean-Francois Champollion, who in 1822 deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics with the aid of the Rosetta Stone. 'Champollion was able to make the ancient world understood by the modern world', said Buckby. He joined Luther as a partner at the beginning of 2004, part of a heavyweight double hire alongside ex-Government Information and Communications Service chief Mike Grannatt (PRWeek, 7 November 2003).

It is understood that Buckby no longer wanted to be part of Luther under its proposed change of ownership (see p1).

He fronted BiE's campaign for five years but quit the pressure group in autumn 2003 after it became clear there was no prospect of the Government holding a referendum on euro membership and funds dried up.

For the CRE (a former client at Luther) he is assisting chair Trevor Phillips and director of strategy and comms Colleen Harris on media strategy.

'Issues have flared up on the back of the backlash against Muslims after the London bombings,' he said. 'Trying to make sense of the changing media picture is a complex matter.'

His other Luther clients included McDonald's Europe, the Hinduja Brothers and the Equal Opportunities Commission. Buckby is a former social affairs and employment correspondent at the Financial Times and political reporter at the BBC.

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