Bell Pottinger appoints former New Labour aides

Bell Pottinger Public Affairs has made a brace of senior appointments but lost the services of director Fiona Mason, who quit last month.

The agency has hired David Blunkett's former special adviser Sophie Linden as a director and Christopher Parr, a private secretary to deputy PM John Prescott, as account director.

Linden joins BPPA at the beginning of February as one of seven directors. She advised Blunkett in the Home Office until his first resignation at the end of 2004, and during his time as Education Secretary. For the past year she has worked in the children's charity sector.

Agency MD Peter Bingle lauded her as being 'one of the best ministerial advisers of this generation'.

Parr, who starts next week, has for the past three years played a major role at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, advising on housing issues and the department's efforts to foster sustainable communities.

Mason left BPPA the week before Christmas and is not thought to have had a job to go to. She joined the agency in September 2003 from Brunswick, where she was a public affairs and corporate PR
consultant. Prior to that, she was a parliamentary and European officer at the CBI.

BPPA promoted director Tim Walker to deputy MD in the autumn to allow Bingle to focus on accelerating the agency's growth (PRWeek,
3 November 2005).

Last September the firm made the intriguing appointment of former Vodafone group public policy director  Stewart White to the newly created role of chairman.

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