H&K former MD to launch rival agency

Former Hill & Knowlton City MD Anthony Payne is preparing to launch a rival PR agency next year after the WPP-owned network cut both his role and his practice.

Payne confirmed he was planning to launch a financial and corporate agency next May following his redundancy from H&K.

H&K has shut down its five-strong financial division just three years after it launched, making Payne and two of his colleagues redundant.

The remaining two City PROs have since been integrated into H&K's financial services and professional team, under the leadership of practice head Stuart Wilson.

H&K deputy chairman Andy Laurence denied the redundancies came as a result of WPP's decision to concentrate on sister City PR brand Finsbury, led by co-founders Roland Rudd and Rupert Younger.

'We have had rough trading conditions, particularly in the cross border financial business,' he said.

Payne said he is launching a consultancy with three undisclosed financial PROs, but remained tight-lipped as to the name of the agency and his partners.

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