In brief: Uber leaver sets up shop, Gambling group gets Hanratty, Relevance recruits, wins for PRCO and MHP

Uber leaver sets up shop, Gambling group gets Hanratty, Relevance International hires digital lead, and more from PRWeek UK.

Uber leaver sets up shop

Amsterdam-based former Uber EMEA comms chief Gareth Mead (pictured) has launched business development and strategic comms firm ALT-ANGLE. The venture is initially staffed by Mead alone, with some external advisory support when needed, and has two (unnamed) launch clients; a large telco group and a consumer goods startup. After two years at Uber, Mead left at the start of 2017 to study at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands. He was also formerly Virgin Media head of media relations and before that a BBC journalist.

Gambling group gets Hanratty

Sarah Hanratty, the deputy CEO and director fo corporate affairs at alcohol industry body the Portman Group, will join Senet Group as CEO on 6 August. Senet is a UK body created by four of the country's biggest gambling firms to address problem gambling. Hanratty joined Portman Group in a comms role in 2010 having previously worked at the National Lottery Commission and the Cabinet Office.

Relevance International hires digital lead

Relevance International, the US-headquartered agency that opened in London last autumn, has made a new appointment to create a new digital arm. Liz Chambers has joined the real estate, hospitality, corporate and luxury goods PR specialist agency as digital strategist. Chambers, who joins from Creative Media Marketing, is US-based but will work across both offices. Her clients will include The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in Dubai and luxury homes group Barn & Vine.

Llorente & Cuenca makes acquisition

Madrid-headquartered PR agency Llorente & Cuenca has acquired outright Barcelona consultancy Arenalia for an undisclosed sum. Arenalia, which specialises in consumer, digital, and lifestyle clients, will combine its 20-strong workforce with Llorente & Cuenca’s 30-person operation in Barcelona. Arenalia’s biggest clients include Harley-Davidson, Panasonic, Hotelbeds and Vans. Llorente & Cuenca, which has offices across South America as well as Iberia, closed 2017 with total global fee earnings of €36.3m ($44.8m, £32.4m), up 7.6 per cent on the year before.

PRCO wins Chelsea Barracks

The agency PRCO UK has been appointed as PR consultants for Chelsea Barracks (below), a former British Army facility being redeveloped by Qatari Diar Europe to create a new neighbourhood within Belgravia. PRCO is handling the development's launch at the art fair Masterpiece London this week.

Homer hired by Gatehouse

Gatehouse Bank has hired Andy Homer as director of comms. He will report to CEO Charles Haresnape. Having started his career at NatWest, Homer has held senior communications positions at Alliance & Leicester, Santander and HSBC. Most recently he worked for Aldermore where he led on external communications, including during its recent acquisition by FirstRand, South Africa’s largest bank.

Venture capital victory for MHP

Venture capital firm Draper Esprit has hired MHP Communications as its retained financial PR adviser. Draper Esprit recently raised an additional £176m to invest in British and European start-ups in areas such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital health and fintech. MHP MDs James White and Reg Hoare will lead the account team.

We Are Social hires Paul Rider

Socially led creative agency We Are Social has appointed Paul Rider to the newly created role of head of art. Former GQ, Wired and Shortlist creative Rider rejoins We Are Social from KITE Eyewear, before which he had been at the agency as senior art director for its Adidas account.

Apprentice star goes Radioactive

Elizabeth McKenna, a contestant on last year’s series of The Apprentice, has appointed Radioactive PR. The agency is charged with promoting her online florist Lizzie's Bundles, and promoting McKenna, who recently prepared flowers for Meghan Markle, as a media personality. Radioactive recently announced a shift to a four-day week.

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