Headland hires ex-Finsbury UK boss and former Tesco corporate comms chief

Independent PR agency Headland has added two big hitters to its ranks: former Finsbury UK CEO Mike Smith and Ed Young, an ex-Tesco corporate comms chief and a former speechwriter for David Cameron.

Mike Smith: Headland next for the Finsbury and Brunswick veteran
Mike Smith: Headland next for the Finsbury and Brunswick veteran

Smith, who was most recently senior partner at Brunswick, joins the financial PR, corporate comms and public affairs agency as a partner.

The former Financial Times journalist has worked with clients including The National Grid, Dairy Crest, Prudential, Eurostar and Trinity Mirror. M&A comms experience includes advising AkzoNobel in its rebuff last year of PPG, and Sainsbury’s on its acquisition of Argos. He has advised companies including Polypipe, Sophos and Britvic on their stock market flotations.

Young, who has been made a director at Headland, was most recently corporate communications director and content & channels director at Tesco, working at the supermarket giant during a turbulent four years.

He joined Tesco from Brunswick, where clients included Tesco, Kingfisher, and HSBC. Young began his career with five years at Conservative Campaign HQ, where he worked as a speechwriter to David Cameron, before and soon after becoming Prime Minister. Young was also chief of staff to the party chairman, and stood in the 2017 general election as the Conservative candidate in York.

Their appoints follow a period of growth for Headland, which last year won accounts with major clients such as PepsiCo, Three UK, and fashion brand Mulberry. In January, the agency announced the appointment of Stephen Malthouse as a partner, and former Bell Pottinger consultant Ian Shackleton as a senior consultant

Headland CEO Chris Salt said: "Mike and Ed represent another big step forward for Headland. They bring really significant experience at the very top of the business and political worlds and between them have advised on some of the biggest corporate moments of the past decade. Their experience is perfect for Headland’s integrated offer and it’s a great pleasure to welcome them."

Headland, which was founded in 2005 by Salt and Howard Lee, ranked 63 in the most recent PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies table, with revenue of £4.7m in 2016.

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