Who's in? Who's out? The 12 biggest PR people moves of 2016

2016 had its fair share of significant people moves in the UK PR industry. PRWeek rounds up the biggest ins and outs.

Who's in? Who's out? The 12 biggest PR people moves of 2016

Sir Lynton hires former editor

Chris Blackhurst, former editor of The Independent and City editor of the London Evening Standard, was taken on by Crosby Textor, the firm run by Conservative Party election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby. The big question is – will he have an election to work on in 2017?

VanderMolen hired by WE

After leaving Edelman parent firm DJE Holdings in September 2016 amid troubles in its Chinese operations, Alan VanderMolen's arrival in a newly-created role at WE signalled the rebranded firm's global ambitions.

Devine departs MHP

Gavin Devine had taken the top job at MHP in 2012, overseeing a sometimes difficult period, including a 14 per cent income decline in 2014, followed by signs of recovery. He left to become COO at Porta, which had promised acquisitions and had also made another significant hire in late 2015 in the shape of Finsbury's Steffan Williams.

Theresa's new team

Late June and early July witnessed some of the most confusing and unpredictable weeks in modern British history - and one of the first things new Prime Minister Theresa May did when she entered Number 10 was to assemble her comms team.

Asda's Cool customer

One of Charlotte Cool's first actions, just a month after taking on the position of vice president of corporate affairs at Asda, was to serve Freuds its notice. The Walmart-owned firm appears keen on doing more work in-house.

Lord Bell doesn't retire

A PRWeek-certified legend of PR, Margaret Thatcher's former PR chief left the agency he founded 30 years ago in August, but remains in PR through a new personal venture called Sans Frontières

Tesco bags new comms chief

It is highly unlikely that Coca-Cola's Jane Lawrie arrived at Tesco as its corporate comms chief under the impression that taking such a role at the UK's biggest retailer would allow her a quiet, relaxing existence. But if she did, the company's high-profile post-Brexit pricing spat with supplier Unilever, which kicked off in her first week in the role, would have changed her mind pretty quickly.

McGuinness leaves Freuds

Andrew McGuinness' departure after two years as chief executive of Freud Communications came after several high-profile client losses - although he is also credited with strengthening its top team and striking new partnerships with Virgin Money, McCain and London & Partners.

Craig Oliver joins Teneo Blue Rubicon

After David Cameron left Number 10, it's safe to assume that more than a couple of agencies had courted his former comms chief, but newly rebranded Teneo Blue Rubicon was the one that made former journalist Craig Oliver put pen to paper.

Bigg hire at MHP

After more than 15 years at Edelman, Alex Bigg succeeded Gavin Devine (see above) as boss of MHP in November. Can he help it spread the Missing Type magic further across the business?

Big hires at Edelman

The world's largest PR firm didn't cry into its soup after the loss of Alex Bigg - it has taken on ex-Boris Johnson PR aide Will Walden to lead its public affairs team, alongside two other senior hires. The firm also has a new Europe chief, with Carol Potter moving over from its Asia operations to succeed Michael Stewart, who himself had taken a promotion.

Weber brings in Baillie

Weber Shandwick is far from the first PR firm to bring in a hire from adland in an attempt to broaden its offering and integrated approach, and it won't be the last. However, new head of client service Hugh Baillie was the most senior hire of this type in 2016 (even if he doesn't actually start work until January).

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