The Porta Communications-owned agency has hired former KGA managing partner Brian Tyson to head Newgate Australia and lead a start-up team of 20 consultants.
Much of the start-up team is drawn from former KGA staffers, including the new business’ deputy managing partner Felicity Allen, a 17-year KGA veteran in Australia, and Sue Vercoe, who will head the market and social research division, having been CEO at KGA division GA Research.
Other partners drawn from Kreab Gavin Anderson include corporate and financial communication specialists Greg Baxter and Miche Paterson, social media-focused Feyi Akindoyeni and infrastructure specialist Jodie Brough.
It is understood that the defection of Kreab Gavin Anderson's Australian team to Newgate was triggered by a failure to agree an MBO of the business with KGA's leadership team. Similarly fruitless MBO discussions in Europe and Asia led to the departure of a number of top KGA executives late last year, many of whom have subsequently joined Newgate.
David Wright, CEO of Newgate parent Porta Communications, said: 'The launch of Newgate Australia is an exciting and significant next step in Newgate’s growth strategy. The opportunities in Australia have proved to be more substantial than originally anticipated and therefore required greater investment. However, we believe this will create a more substantial business and provide greater returns in the future.’
The firm expects the 20-strong team to grow to 30 in the ‘short term’ and intends to add offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, as well as a trade comms office in Shanghai.
Tyson commented: ‘We believe that our team here has impeccable connections across business, the political spectrum, government agencies at Federal and State level, and the media.
‘Clients have trusted us over many years to work alongside them delivering some of Australia’s most complex and challenging corporate and government projects. We look forward to continuing that tradition in an exciting new venture.’
Newgate, the fastest growing agency in PRWeek’s Top 150 Consultancies report, has rapidly expanded its international footprint over the past year.
The group hired former Kreab Gavin Anderson managing partner Fergus Wylie as director of international development and has brought in former KGA executives Terence Foo and Richard Barton to open businesses under the Newgate brand in Singapore and Hong Kong respectively.
Last week, AIM-listed Porta announced a five-fold year-on-year increase in revenues for the first six months of 2013.