Wilkins joins as chief strategic advisor, with Ovenden becoming director at iNHouse, the agency founded by Theresa May’s former director of comms Katie Perrior and business partner Jo Tanner.
The agency said the appointments are part of its business growth strategy that includes expansion of its offices at 4 Millbank and a new strategic partnership it hopes to announce in due course.
Wilkins was director of strategy and chief speechwriter to May between August 2016 and Autumn 2017, which coincided with much of Perrior’s stint at Number 10. He penned major speeches for the Prime Minister including her Lancaster House address, Davos speech and to the Republican Party retreat in Philadelphia prior to meeting President Trump.
Ovenden most recently worked at M&C Saatchi, where he handled counter-extremism projects and provided strategic advice and counsel to a range of organisations. Before joining M&C he spent four years at the Labour Party, including as a senior advisor, briefing the lobby and as a speechwriter.
Perrior said: "Paul and Chris have decades of experience of frontline politics and policy making, and will provide our clients with invaluable insights and counsel to help shape their communications and business strategies. Their appointments are the first part of what is going to be an exciting year at iNHouse as we expand our office and our team."
Clients of iNHouse have included Diageo, Gatwick Airport, News UK, Starbucks and Microsoft, and it is well known in political circles, not just for Perrior's record of working with May and before that Boris Johnson, but also for operating a prominent lounge at party conferences.
Perrior re-joined iNHouse in 2017 after resigning from Number 10 following the announcement of the General Election that year.
Last year PRWeek reported that Michelle Di Leo had departed iNHouse, where she joined from FleishmanHillard Fishburn as a partner, after around six months.