Barnes, who has landed the part-time post of senior counsel at Fleishman-Hillard said he will ‘provide very high-level strategic advice on reputation management to existing and future [F-H] clients'. He will still be based near Montpellier in France.
He will also be involved in new-business pitches, working with F-H head of PA Nick Williams. It is understood the role will take up three to five days a month of his time.
F-H UK regional director Kevin Bell hailed Barnes as ‘one of the most experienced players in PA', describing his hire as a ‘major coup'.
In 1989, Barnes joined GJW, which after a series of acquisitions became part of WS in 2002. He left the agency in March 2005. He also serves as non-executive director for St Albans-based Communications Management.
Barnes's hire comes as F-H this month opened a Moscow office, with nine staff providing its full range of PR and PA services.
Back in London, it has also appointed Morgan Long, former adviser to MEP Martin Callanan, to join next month as a senior consultant in its PA division. In addition, Rosie Luff and Daniel Dean have joined as consultants.
Moving in the other direction, F-H consultant Rachel Cunningham has left to join healthcare PA start-up Advocate, set up by ex-Labour press officer Jamie Holyer (PRWeek, 18 August).