Champollion sets up political division with three launch clients

Champollion is setting up a specialist public affairs practice led by Gavin Hayes, a former general secretary of social think-tank Compass.

Teamwork: Champollion Political’s Gavin Hayes and Kat Santos
Teamwork: Champollion Political’s Gavin Hayes and Kat Santos

The launch of Champollion Political comes eight years after former Luther Pendragon partner Simon Buckby launched Champollion to offer media expertise around public policy issues.

Hayes will head the practice as senior consultant and will be joined by associate consultant Kat Santos.

The new enterprise is due to formally launch later this summer but has already netted three clients, including the Canal and River Trust, which is entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

PRWeek understands the agency is set to be appointed to handle stakeholder engagement for the Academies Enterprise Trust following a four-way pitch earlier this month. Champollion declined to comment on the development.

The Academies Enterprise Trust is responsible for managing nearly 80 academies, which are state-funded schools free of the control of local authorities that were first introduced in 2002.

Hayes was general secretary of Compass between 2004 and 2012 before joining public policy conference organiser and PR consultancy Neil Stewart Associates as editorial director of Policy Review Intelligence.

Santos has previously worked as head of office for Conservative MP Anne Milton and for the Centre for Social Justice think-tank.

Champollion Political will also call on the expertise of Estelle McCartney, a board director of Champollion Group. McCartney was hired from Good Relations in 2010 to boost Champollion’s lobbying capability.

Champollion Group owns Champollion, Champollion Digital (which was launched in 2011) and Champollion Political.

Buckby said: ‘We’ve primarily been a media shop for third sector clients and political cause but we now do fully-fledged public affairs.’

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