Issues management consultancy Luther Pendragon has supported the launch in Brussels of a new public affairs and media relations agency.
The move amounts to a new office opening for LP, though it will take only a partial equity stake in the new firm, being founded by two close friends of LP's creator and partner Charles Stewart-Smith.
The Brussels founders are Peter Guilford and Nigel Gardner, both former foreign affairs journalists and spokesmen for EU institutions. They plan to launch their new agency in December.
Guilford is deputy spokesman to European Commission president Romano Prodi and runs a team of 20 in the PR department in Brussels. The former school and college friend of Stewart-Smith has worked for the EC for over ten years as a trade negotiator and spokesman on competition issues.
He began his career on the Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for three years.
Gardner is communications chief for the Labour group in the European parliament. He too has served as an EC spokesman, for three years.
Prior to that he worked for four years at the BBC in London and Brussels, as a producer and reporter for On the Record.
'Brussels agencies are very good at straight lobbying but are not up to much at media relations. That will be our strength. It plugs a vital gap in our offer,' said Stewart-Smith.
LP already has affiliations with two other agencies, Nichols Dezenhall in Washington DC, and von Hoff Kommunikation in Dusseldorf. 'For many clients the need to manage issues in Brussels as well as London and elsewhere is important,' Stewart-Smith said.