Crump leaves Athena to co-found agency

Athena Medical PR director Neil Crump has quit to launch his own agency. He is set to team up with Fleishman-Hillard UK associate director Claire Eldridge to launch the firm.

Crump is currently on gardening leave from Athena. Eldridge, meanwhile, resigned from F-H last week and, like Crump, was finalising details of her departure as PRWeek went to press.

Crump has effectively worked as number two to agency managing director Cherry Wood at Athena, which had a barnstorming night at the Communiqué Awards earlier this year, winning Consultancy of the Year (PRWeek, 5 August). He joined Athena in 2002.

Wood has lined up an interim replacement, whom she hopes to confirm shortly. She is already interviewing for a permanent replacement, and said of Crump's departure: 'We wish Neil well. We are a successful agency and will continue to be successful.'

Eldridge has worked at F-H for almost four years, until recently at CPR Worldwide (now rebranded F-H).

She joined CPR from Burson-Marsteller in Sydney. Prior to that she worked for Clear, the agency run by ex-Labour Party PR man John Underwood.  

F-H UK healthcare head Michael Smeeth said he was recruiting for a replacement, adding: 'Claire has worked tremendously hard and I wish her all the best in the future.'

Prior to Athena, Crump spent a period at CPR, where he first came across Eldridge. He worked for both CPR Worldwide and its UK division.

Crump started his career as a microbiology research officer at the former Zeneca. He has also worked as a press officer at the University of Bath.

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