Chime Communications hires ex-Diageo CEO Paul Walsh as chairman

Chime Communications has appointed former Diageo CEO Paul Walsh as its new chairman - Chime's first major appointment since US private equity firm Providence took a majority stake in the group in October.

Paul Walsh: Led drinks giant Diageo for 12 years
Paul Walsh: Led drinks giant Diageo for 12 years

Walsh, who starts his role with immediate effect, headed global drinks giant Diageo for 12 years until he stepped down in 2013. Walsh’s other responsibilities include chairmanship of Compass Group, the world’s largest catering company, and satellite operator Avanti Communications Group.

Previous chairman Lord Davies left his role following the announcement of the new ownership.

Christopher Satterthwaite, CEO of Chime Communications, said: "[Walsh] has unrivalled experience in growing businesses on an international scale and we will benefit greatly from this and his understanding of how sport, entertainment and communications can transform brands."

Andrew Tisdale, MD of Providence, said: "We are pleased to have a leader of Paul’s calibre assume the role of chairman. His experience and expertise will greatly support Chime’s growth ambition."

Chime said Walsh had worked with Chime in the past in a client capacity.

Walsh said: "I have a longstanding relationship with Chime and have experienced first-hand the quality of work consistently delivered throughout the group. I am particularly pleased to be joining at such an exciting time and believe Chime has a unique opportunity to accelerate its growth and develop its market-leading position across multiple geographies."

Chime, whose PR assets include Good Relations and Teamspirit, was acquired by Providence in October for £374m as part of a consortium with WPP, which rolled over its existing c20 per cent stake.

The move saw a restructure of Chime, with its five divisions condensed into two: Sport & Entertainment and Communications. Most of the group’s PR agencies have been placed in the latter.

Speaking to PRWeek at the time of the deal, Satterthwaite said Chime could grow by at least 10 per cent per year organically under new ownership.

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