The PHA Group has hired a director of regions, Sarah Lawless, to support the launch in Manchester and work with joint managing directors Shelley Frosdick and Stuart Skinner on the agency’s future regional and international expansion strategy.
Its northern HQ will be led on a day-to-day basis by Hannah Craig, who takes on the role of head of PHA North.
She has joined from Finn Communications, where she led high-profile brand accounts in the development and execution of strategic and creative PR, influencer and social media activations. She was previously the UK and EMEA communications lead at Saatchi & Saatchi.
The launch team has been completed with senior account manager Jess MacDonald, who joins from Rule 5.
The Manchester team has PR and social media experience working on a mix of corporate and consumer clients, including NatWest, Oral-B, Cushelle, Plenty, Neutrogena, John West, Taylor Wimpey, Turley, North West Cancer Research, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Hoover.
The office will launch with clients including Bonnet Electric, Hometree, Elevate and Open ECX.
The PHA Group has implemented a secondment programme and plans collaborative working across accounts to ensure a flow of talent between its offices.
The PHA Group's chair, Phil Hall, said the northern economy “continues to grow at pace and is home to a range of hugely exciting established and start-up businesses”.
“Following extensive market research, we identified the immense potential in particular in several key industries that align well with our existing experience and expertise. Centring our HQ in the region and combining our 16-year track record with local industry knowledge makes perfect sense as The PHA Group continues to grow,” he said.
“The launch of our Manchester HQ will also provide exciting opportunities and a greater level of flexibility to our existing team. Bringing new skillsets to the agency will allow us to develop faster as an agency and having an office in Manchester will be welcome news for many of our long-term clients who are based in the area.”
Skinner and Frosdick said in a statement: “The opening of our Manchester office is a major milestone for PHA. It is the realisation of many months and years of planning and reflects our passionate belief in the northern economy and our excitement at the prospect of working with more brilliant brands, businesses and individuals based in the north.
“As we expand, we will continue to invest in local talent, and are delighted to have Sarah, Hannah and Jess join us as our initial northern recruits. In just a few months, their creativity, drive, and insight has already demonstrated the huge opportunity that lies outside of London.”
Head of PHA North Hannah Craig added: “Having always been passionate about the talent, culture and thriving business opportunities available in the North, it’s very exciting to now be able to pair that with the expertise and tenacity that The PHA Group is known for. As Manchester continues to thrive, the opportunity across the region is undeniable and we take great pride in being part of that growth as we begin to execute our exciting plans for PHA in the North.”