Ruane becomes a managing partner at the comms consultancy and joins the global leadership team.
Stonehaven said he will head "the next stage of the firm’s growth and investment in corporate reputation, creative strategy, and integrated campaigning".
The move follows Stonehaven's expansion into Asia Pacific through the acquisition of corporate comms and sustainability advisory business Aeio earlier this year, and of sustainability firm Robertsbridge in 2021. Stonehaven - which was founded in 2014 by Peter Lyburn, a former associate of Sir Lynton Crosby - said the new practice will be part of a "single and unified consultancy offering" across its London, Singapore, Australia, and Dubai network.
"With this investment, Stonehaven is accelerating the impact of its communications and campaigns offer to turn strategy into action and help brands to change attitudes and behaviours and deliver deep, sustainable change," said the company, which employs around 100 people in policy, sustainability, advocacy, communications and campaigning.
Prior to joining National Grid in 2018, Ruane headed the global Shell business at Edelman - one of the agency’s largest accounts - as managing director, and was a member of the UK Board.
Lyburn said: “We are delighted to have someone of James’ calibre join us. He has a formidable track record leading high performing teams, and incredibly successful communications campaigns. His experience will be invaluable to so many of our clients and teams, as he brings decades of experience to our growing bench of campaign specialists and reputation advisers.
“Stonehaven has built an enviable reputation for its strategic, political, and advocacy work, and now our enhanced focus on strategic creative communications, underpinned by science-based, data-driven, systems level change, allows us to help a wider range of organisations successfully act on, and navigate unprecedented societal and environmental trends impacting a more interconnected world.”
Ruane said: “I am incredibly excited to be joining Stonehaven at this pivotal time. The consultancy is a strategic powerhouse, and the growth of our global communications and campaigns offering will put creativity right at the heart of our thinking. By combining the best of a creative agency that delivers transformational change, with the best of a strategy consultancy that delivers creativity, we are in a great position to bring brilliant strategy to life, with bold and courageous ideas that makes critical change happen.”
Also working on global comms and campaigns offering is former Teneo MD India Knight, who joined Stonehaven in 2020 as a director. The firm said she has been "instrumental in developing Stonehaven’s current campaigning and digital marketing expertise" and the development of its creative studio.
Ruane is the third senior appointment to Stonehaven’s leadership team in the past year, following managing partner, Asia Pacific, Ian Rumbsy; and senior adviser Paul Maddon, who was formerly British Ambassador to Japan, British High Commissioner to Australia, and British High Commissioner to Singapore.
The consultancy declined to reveal revenue figures or discuss clients.