The agency run by ex-Blair aide Tim Allan has swooped for David Bradshaw, a former lobby journalist who went on to draft millions of words for the former prime minister during a decade as a Downing Street writer.
Bradshaw will join Portland later this month and is charged with setting up Portland Writing, a new wing of the consultancy that will prepare and publicise major set-piece communications from businesses.
The new unit will help to identify key messages and arguments, before drafting speeches and op-ed articles for senior executives. It will also work on reports and other forms of corporate communications.
Allan, who was Alastair Campbell’s deputy before setting up Portland in 2001, said: ‘I know from my own experience that David was used by all the senior figures in government.’
He praised Bradshaw’s ‘ability to communicate clearly often complex arguments in a wide variety of styles’.
After working on the 1997 election campaign, Bradshaw helped to set up Number 10’s Strategic Communications Unit in 1998.
Before Downing Street, Bradshaw spent seven years as deputy political editor at the Daily Mirror.
Portland has 30 staff and an annual turnover of almost £3m. Its clients include BSkyB, Google, Vodafone, Bebo and Remploy – the ‘specialist employment services group’ that earlier this year caused controversy by announcing plans to close its poorest-performing factories, with the loss of 2,500 jobs. Portland also works for President Putin’s Kremlin press office.
The agency recently won the annual FrontLine pub quiz run by the PRCA. The competition, featuring some 34 agencies, was settled by a tie break after Portland PR and Quintus Public Affairs tied for first place.