Partner Ben Abbotts has resigned and is about to take a senior role at a rival lobbying firm. As PRWeek went to press, Abbots said he was weighing up two agency offers and was yet to reach a decision. Good Relations and The Policy Partnership are both believed to have expressed an interest in hiring Abbotts.
His departure comes just weeks after it emerged that co-founder Jon Mendelsohn, a former adviser to Tony Blair, is to leave. Mendelsohn’s exit will take effect later this year, leaving just one of the founding trio – Ben Lucas – still with the agency.
Earlier this year, PRWeek revealed that MD Craig Leviton was leaving the agency to become corporate affairs director at gambling giant Gala Coral. Meanwhile, account director Luke Gibbs left in January this year after three years at LLM. He has since resurfaced at the Food and Drink Federation, working on an interim basis as its top lobbyist.
LLM was set up as Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn in 1997 in the wake of Labour’s landslide general election victory and has always been considered to have strong links to senior figures in the New Labour camp. In 2005, the public affairs agency was acquired by City PR giant FD (the former Financial Dynamics) and renamed FD-LLM.
Rival lobbyists claimed that the firm has become less significant since the departure from the Government of a number of New Labour’s protagonists – including Blair himself. Other industry sources have suggested the spate of resignations this year had been fuelled by the takeover
Agency MD Fiona Mason said: ‘I think it’s inevitable, as the business continues to become more integrated with the rest of the FD Group, that there will be changes in the team. This is reflected not only in the departures but also in the significant new hires which are planned.’
This week, the agency unveiled the first of those new hires. Christopher Cuddihy joins as a senior account manager, having previously been private secretary to skills minister Phil Hope.