Devine will take control of the Engine-owned agency on 1 May, while Deshmukh will continue to work alongside Devine to support a smooth transition before leaving in the autumn.
Deshmukh commented: ‘I have always been a believer in the maxim that the art of living rests in a fine balance of hanging on and letting go’
‘I could not be more proud of what has been achieved during the years I have been at the helm of AS Biss, then Mandate and now MHP… Now is the right time for me to move on and explore new challenges beyond MHP and Engine. I am very glad to be handing over to Gavin, who has been a key part of the leadership of the company over the past few years and who I know will be a superb Chief Executive of MHP’
Deshmukh joined Engine at its creation in 2005, leading public affairs company AS Biss & Co into the newly formed group.
Since then he led the development of the corporate communications businesses in Engine, culminating in the creation of the MHP Communications business through the merger of the Mandate, Hogarth and Penrose businesses in October 2010.
Devine worked alongside Deshmukh as deputy MD of AS Biss. Following AS Biss’ merger with Republic PR to form Mandate Communications, Devine became joint MD of Mandate and later COO.
Devine added: ‘MHP is a great company, filled with extremely smart, capable, and ambitious people… As we now look to the years ahead, we have significant plans for the further expansion of both the services we offer to clients and for the growth of our office network around the world.’
MHP saw organic fee income growth of 6 per cent in 2011 and now has annual revenues of £18m and 150 staff.
Announcing the move, Peter Scott, chairman of Engine, said: ‘MHP is now a leading corporate communications and PR business and one of the most important parts of the Engine family. As we enter a phase of further accelerated growth for MHP I am delighted that we have a chief executive with Gavin’s capabilities, drive and enthusiasm in place.
‘As he now chooses to move on to new challenges, I would like to thank Sacha for the enormous contribution that he has made to the success of MHP and Engine as a whole, for which he has the gratitude of everyone here. We wish him god speed and all the best for the future.’