Labour Party political comms heavyweight Paddy Hennessy takes agency role

Sadiq Khan’s former comms chief and veteran political journalist Paddy Hennessy is to join London Communications Agency as a senior advisor next month.

Paddy Hennessy will join London Communications Agency next month
Paddy Hennessy will join London Communications Agency next month

Paddy Hennessy will work with London Communications Agency’s media and public affairs clients. The firm said his appointment to a full-time role was a reflection of its strong growth in recent years.

LCA said Hennessy brought with him a “consummate knowledge” of the political environment and the media in London and across the UK.

Hennessy was Sadiq Khan’s director of comms for five years until he stepped down following the London Mayor’s re-election in May and was replaced by Sarah Brown.

Commenting on his appointment, Hennessy said: “This is a time of great opportunity for London as it recovers from the pandemic, which is why I am thrilled to join LCA, an agency whose culture, team and clients I have always hugely respected.”

He added: “After five intense but rewarding years working alongside Sadiq Khan as his director of communications, this will be a new but very exciting challenge.”

Labour Party comms stalwart

Hennessy, who is regularly included in PRWeek's 'Top Ten political comms and public affairs specialists', directed comms for Khan’s first London mayoral election campaign in 2016 against Zac Goldsmith and went on to do the same job at City Hall.

During his time as mayoral director of communications, Hennessy worked closely with Khan, his deputy mayor and a range of stakeholders to lead on comms, media relations and advice on political strategy.

He also advised Khan on key decisions including London’s response to the pandemic.

Before serving the mayor of London, Hennessy was deputy director of comms for the Labour Party and worked on the 2015 general election campaign, during which time he advised former Labour leader Ed Milliband and the shadow cabinet.

Veteran journalist

Hennessy began his career as a journalist, starting out on the Express & Echo newspaper in Exeter before moving to posts at The Sun, The Daily Express, The Evening Standard and The Sunday Telegraph, where he was political editor for a decade.

He has interviewed four serving and two future prime ministers, and covered wars and political crises around the world.

Growth, client wins and staff

LCA said it has enjoyed consecutive years of growth, pre and post-COVID, with a 20 per cent leap in fee income during 2018/19 followed by 12 per cent in 2019/20.

During the past year, LCA has grown from 45 to 55 people, with recent hires including a design services director and a social and digital account director, as well as a range of less senior appointments.

Jonny Popper, LCA’s managing director, told PRWeek the agency had won a major contract with Earls Court Development Company in recent weeks, following a competitive tender.

The agency, founded 23 years ago, will provide the business with community consultation, stakeholder engagement and social media services as it develops a new plan for the Earl's Court area of West London.

LCA's other clients include Argent at King’s Cross, Lendlease on Euston, Tottenham Hotspur FC, and NHS Trusts including Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The agency said Hennesey’s appointment put it in a strong position to continue its rapid growth.

Popper said: “LCA has long been at the forefront of supporting major change projects across the capital, working in development, sport, culture, transport and the health service.

“Paddy is the perfect fit for LCA and we are delighted to be working together. He brings with him a consummate knowledge of the political environment and the media and also has a real passion for mentoring and developing those with whom he works. We have no doubt he will add enormous value to our current and future clients as well as to our team.”

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