Fishburn Hedges veteran McMillan to launch firm

Fishburn Hedges' longstand­ing head of public affairs Graham McMillan is stepping down after 12 years to start his own venture.

McMillan will leave FH in mid-November. He plans to launch an independent PA and issues management firm with at least one other partner and a handful of staff. No other FH consultants are involved in the venture.

He is the second heavyweight practitioner on the PA consultancy scene to step down in a matter of weeks, following news of Warwick Smith's exit from Citigate (PRWeek, 1 September).

Director Lucy Burns has been promoted to take over the running of FH's public affairs practice.

McMillan joined the agency in November 1994 as a consultant from Westminster Strategy. He set up the agency's PA practice the following year, and in 1998 was promoted to the board and became head of PA.

‘Graham's contribution to FH has been immense,' said CEO Simon Matthews. ‘From a standing start, he's helped expand the public ­affairs practice to a team of 14 with more than 20 retain­ed clients.'

The practice has an annual fee income of £1.6m, up 60 per cent over the past two years thanks to wins such as Aviva and Digital UK.

McMillan said that despite his departure he wanted the agency's PA offering to go from ‘strength to strength', adding that starting a new venture ‘is one of those things I've always wanted to do'.

Burns will work closely with fellow directors Simon Burton and Lee Whitehead. She has been at FH for six years, handling challenging accounts such as the introduction of London's Congestion charge.

She joined from Universities UK, where she set up the government relations unit and lobbied for the introduction of tuition fees.

Burns began her PA career at Shelter, working on housing and homelessness campaigns during the last Tory administration.

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