PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in political and public affairs comms

PRWeek's UK Power Book reveals the PR pros who lead the way in their respective areas. Today, we rank the big players in political and public affairs comms.

(clockwise from top left) Cain, Preston, Walden, Williams
(clockwise from top left) Cain, Preston, Walden, Williams

1. Lee Cain – Downing Street director of comms

The recently appointed Downing Street comms director has the difficult job of explaining the Prime Minister’s policies to a sceptical media, but is not afraid to bypass them and help his boss speak directly to the nation.

2. Caroline Preston – Director of comms, The Conservative Party

The former head of broadcast for former PM David Cameron, Preston is a party stalwart and has worked with it since 2005, as well as helping to propel it to victory during the 2019 general election.

3. Will Walden – Managing director of government & public affairs, Edelman UK

One of the adults in the room and a veteran BBC journalist, Walden appears to oscillate between the largest agency in the UK and the corridors of power, having previously been Boris Johnson’s mayoral comms chief.

4. Nick Williams – Head and MD of issues and public affairs, BCW London

A new entrant to the top 10, Williams is a stalwart of political comms, having worked with Labour during the Blair years before launching into a public affairs career with the UK’s biggest agencies.

5. Iain Anderson – Executive chairman of Cicero/AMO

A regular political and public affairs commentator, as well as Question Time panellist, Anderson’s role is even bigger since the increased partnership between Cicero/AMO.

6. Paddy Hennessy – Official spokesman, Mayor of London’s Office

It’s an election year for Sadiq Khan, and Hennessy must help him speak to Londoners, as well as explain the delays to Crossrail.

7. Mark Gallagher – Founder, Pagefield Communications

A rare Brexit-supporting agency chief, he is well-connected to the top ranks of the ruling Conservative Party.

8. Charles Lewington – Chief executive, Hanover

Were he not an agency chief, Lewington would probably be a Tory grandee, having run the party’s comms during the Major years.

9. Craig Oliver – Principal, Teneo

Another former Downing Street comms chief, the former BBC journalist has risen to the top of journalism, in-house political comms and agency life.

10. Paul Stephenson – Co-founder, Hanbury Strategy

The former comms director for Vote Leave helped Downing Street director of comms Lee Cain during the general election and is well known inside Number 10.

More from the 2020 Power Book:

Who's in? PRWeek launches UK Power Book and lists lead players in each sector

In Pictures: PRWeek UK Power Book 2020 launch

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in public sector comms

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Consumer PR – Top 10 creative directors & their favourite campaigns

From the editor-in-chief: Putting the most powerful PR pros under the spotlight

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in corporate and financial comms (agency)

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