Hume Brophy appoints heavy hitter as vice-chair

Public affairs veteran Ian Wright, a former CIPR president and ex-corporate relations director at Diageo, has been appointed vice-chair and non-executive director of Hume Brophy, PRWeek has learned.

Ian Wright has a 40-year career in public affairs and PR
Ian Wright has a 40-year career in public affairs and PR

Ian Wright is currently chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation and will leave the trade body at the end of this year, after more than six years in the role. 

Hume Brophy's appointment of Wright underlines its “pre-eminence” in the agriculture and food sector, according to the agency.

John Hume, co-founder and director at Hume Brophy, said: “Ian brings a career of expertise at the highest level in business, management and governance to our company.”

He added: “His leadership of the Food and Drink Federation in recent years has been an exemplar of strategic advocacy on behalf of a critically important sector to the UK and European economies.”

Conall McDevitt, chief executive of Hume Brophy, said Wright “brings massive experience and expertise to our growing company”.

And Edel Bach, managing director of the agency’s UK operation, posted on social media: “Delighted to welcome Ian Wright as our new Vice Chair at such a critical time for UK and European agribusiness.”

Impressive credentials

During his 40-year career Wright has worked in senior agency and in-house roles, served as CIPR president and been awarded the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal for his contribution to PR. In 2015 he was awarded a CBE for political and public service.

Wright has been a lifelong political campaigner, starting out as a comms chief for the fledgling Social Democrat Party in 1981 and working there for several years before making the move into PR. In the decades since, he has advised Liberal Democrat leaders Paddy Ashdown, Menzies Campbell and Nick Clegg.

In 1985 Wright left the SDP to become an account manager at Gwynne Hart. Within five years, during which time he had also racked up stints at Grayling and Chilmark, Wright had risen to become managing director of Golley Slater Brooker. 

In 1994 he left the world of agency PR for an in-house role as head of PR at Boots Healthcare International and three years later was comms director for the parent company Boots the Chemist.

Wright moved to Diageo in 2000, where he was corporate comms director before spending a decade as corporate relations director, and was a member of the executive committee responsible for the multinational drinks company's reputation.

He left Diageo in 2014, and went on to serve on the board of public affairs agency Champollion as a non-executive director, as well as becoming a director of polling firm Mass1, and leading the FDF.

Latest challenge

In his new role, Wright will take a senior leadership role at a global comms agency that works across sectors ranging from financial services, healthcare, and agri-business to tech, transport and science.

Hume Brophy has offices in London, Brussels, Dublin, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Frankfurt and Paris.

Wright is the latest in a series of senior hires by the agency in recent months. Earlier this year Alastair Gornall, former chair of Hanover Communications and Blue Rubicon, joined as non-executive chairman; Robin Hamman, a former director of digital at Edelman, was appointed group director of digital strategy; and former Conservative HQ chief executive Mark MacGregor was brought in as a senior consultant. 

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