As part of its major restructure, Engine MHP has wooed Nick Reid, senior government affairs manager at Pfizer, to become a director.
A former chief of staff to Conservative Party chairman Lord Feldman, Reid will start in his new role next month.
His appointment reflects Engine MHP's emphasis on building a team that “combines experience of Westminster and Whitehall, top-tier campaigns expertise, and a data-driven approach”, according to today’s announcement.
He has worked in politics and public affairs for a decade, after starting out as a researcher for Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown. Prior to joining Pfizer in 2018 he worked as a campaign consultant for CT Group.
Reid said: “I’m delighted to be joining MHP. The combination of top-tier Westminster and Whitehall experience, a team with more former political journalists than any other agency, and unique understanding of how behavioural science can shape campaigns all drew my attention to the agency – as it clearly does for so many new clients – and I look forward to adding my experience and expertise in February."
Lyons commented: "Nick is a class act and it is a real coup to get him. He has an insider’s understanding of the Conservative Party and a real grasp of data-led campaigning. He also has fantastic experience of working client-side and knowing exactly what clients want from their agency. We have built a brilliant team at MHP and he will be a great addition."
Gurling, who built up the public affairs practice with Lyons, has been tasked with expanding Engine MHP’s pool of senior client advisors. This currently includes Matthew Elliott, former chief executive of Vote Leave; Steve Martin, visiting professor of behavioural science at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business; and former health minister Paul Burstow.
“In a year dominated by Brexit and COVID-19, public affairs has come of age. Establishing an advisory function will add further value to the vibrant mix of communications counsel already available to our growing client base,” said Gurling.
Alex Bigg, chief executive of Engine MHP, said of the restructure: “Jamie and James have built a hugely successful practice in a very short time. This move will ensure that this progress continues, both within the Practice and for the company as a whole."
In the three years since it was set up, Engine MHP’s public affairs practice has grown significantly, increasing fees by 27 per cent to £2.8m in 2019; it now has 20 staff
Over the past year the agency has worked for clients such as AstraZeneca, Huawei, Laing O’Rourke, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Recent account wins include Klarna, South Western Railway and TalkTalk.
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