DIARY: Hackney council: home of the entrepreneur?

What is it about the press office at the London Borough of Hackney, a council arguably best known in the 1980s and 1990s for financial mismanagement and a left-of-centre stance, that has produced so many entrepreneurs?

Former executive director of communications Lorraine Langham, it has been reported, allegedly earns around £130,000 a year for her consultancy work at Tower Hamlets, while ex-head of comms Marina Pirotta is now a millionaire, following the sale this year of her agency MPC to Tribal Group (PRWeek, 13 June).

Other alumni to do well in the private sector include DTW director Robin Treacher and MPC director James Flynn. Even a former head of the UK's largest PR agency, Weber Shandwick, Philip Dewhurst, cut his teeth in Hackney.

Pirotta says: 'Entrepreneurs relish a challenge, and Hackney was certainly that.'

In its latest comprehensive performance assessment review of the council the Audit Commission labelled the council as 'poor'. The same can certainly not be said for those PROs who've escaped its press office.

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