Howell James steps down as Quiller boss with Chandler to take reins

Howell James is stepping down as CEO of Huntsworth-owned The Quiller Consultancy to pursue a portfolio career - as the agency shifts gear to become less Conservative and more corporate.

Howell James steps down as Quiller boss with Chandler to take reins

Effective 1 October, the CEO position will be taken up by Jonathan Chandler (pictured above), who joined at the start of the year from ReputationInc. He previously held in-house roles at Coca-Cola and British Airways as well as working for APCO.

Chandler was tasked on arrival with broadening the corporate reputation credentials of the agency, which is best known for government relations, political comms and public affairs, saying at the time that he hoped to create "an agile advisory firm that can provide foresight, diagnosis and integrated campaign planning across the full influencer mix".

He said today of his new role that the firm was "ideally placed to provide the integrated solutions clients need to address critical public policy, reputation and commercial issues".

While Chandler has never worked for a political party, Quiller has a history of close links to the Conservative Party.

When it was acquired by Huntsworth in 2006, the nine-strong agency's chair was Jonathan Hill, who had worked in John Major's Government. James is also a veteran of the Major administration and a number of other staff have worked with Conservative politicians, while a former employee George Bridges was made a Conservative peer in 2015.

James plans to embark on a portfolio career as a non-exec and advisor, and has already been appointed as chairman of the Arts Foundation. James, who spent time at Barclays and Christie's before joining Quiller as CEO in 2014, will also continue to be an advisor to Quiller.

Major clients of the 12-person agency are The Co-operative Group, Metlife, Kingfisher and Paypal.

Read next: Huntsworth returns to profit in H1 as Grayling is back in black

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