Portland hires Diageo's head of society communications

Diageo's head of society communications Mary Pollard has joined Portland as a partner and will support the agency's Global Impact practice.

Mary Pollard has been recruited from Diageo to support Portland's Global Impact practice
Mary Pollard has been recruited from Diageo to support Portland's Global Impact practice

Pollard brings 12 years of experience advising brands on corporate reputation, including Unilever, Mondelez International, HSBC and Sky. Her speciality is social responsibility and purpose-led communications.

At Diageo, she led the company’s reputation on issues including public health, responsible drinking and CSR.

Portland’s Global Impact practice, which previously came under the agency's philanthropy arm, focuses on supporting clients who are creating social change and delivering value beyond profit.

The team’s collective experience is drawn from partnering businesses and NGOs, UN bodies and other organisations on issues ranging from climate change and inequality, through to refugee crises, developing country governance and other major social issues.

It is led by Pollard, senior partner Jane Brearley and partner Robert Watkinson, who has driven the agency’s work with leading foundations, including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kofi Annan Foundation.

Portland’s senior adviser Nicola Howson, a former CEO of Freuds, will provide additional strategic counsel to clients.

"The diversity of our expertise and thinking across the Global Impact team means that we are partnering with organisations of all sizes to help with complex communications challenges on a global scale," Brearley said.

"It is a different kind of work and work, which everyone here is incredibly passionate about and excited to be doing."

Pollard added: "The combination of Portland’s long-standing experience of working with some of the world’s most pioneering changemakers and our ability to deliver impactful communications and advocacy on a global scale makes this an exciting time to be joining the Global Impact team."

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