Nick Archer is leaving his role as director of public affairs at Edelman Public Relations to start a new public affairs division with Ogilvy PR Worldwide in London.
Ogilvy already has thriving public affairs divisions in its Brussels, Washington DC and other offices worldwide, and hopes to build the division partly through demand from existing clients.
Jamie Moeller, the Washington-based managing director of Ogilvy's global public affairs practice, said it was 'critical' that the agency has a public affairs offering in the UK. 'US clients, especially corporate multi-nationals, recognise they face public policy challenges there,' he said, particularly citing the technology, telecommunications, energy and chemical industries.
Archer will start on 1 November. Prior to joining Edelman six years ago, Archer worked as a parliamentary researcher for figures including Jeffrey Archer (no relation); Graham Bright, former parliamentary private secretary to the Prime Minister, and Angela Knight, a treasury minister. Archer is a member of the Conservative Party.
Archer's team will include Tom Howard-Vyse, who will join as account director, and Tom Burns, an account executive. Howard-Vyse worked at Edelman for three years, until August, and Burns is a Cambridge graduate who has been working at the European Commission.
Archer's replacement at Edelman has not been announced yet.
Donna Zurcher, Ogilvy London managing director, said the agency had been looking to invest in public affairs for some time. 'The public affairs market is growing ... London is the final piece of the jigsaw,' she said.
The plans for the division are ambitious: Archer aims to be pulling in fees worth pounds 1 million within 12 months. In order to do this, he will be targeting 'blue-chip companies' and also foreign governments looking to improve their image in the UK.
Archer will report to Zurcher on a day-to-day basis. Moeller oversees all Ogilvy's public affairs business, which is spread throughout Europe and the Americas, and also Asia, with offices there including Jakarta and Beijing. Last year, this practice group brought in over pounds 10 million.
At Edelman, Archer's clients included the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, for which it has worked on the Tobacco Alliance, a group of 26,000 independent retailers bankrolled by the TMA, lobbying the Government to cut tobacco taxes.