Industry supremos back new agency

Eight comms heavyweights have thrown their weight ­behind a new agency to be run by Michael Portillo's former press secretary Malcolm Gooderham.

The Ledbury Group aims to change attitudes towards brands or companies via ‘thought-leadership campaigns’. It has already secured Nestlé as a launch client.

The outfit will be run by Gooderham and Nick Bent, previously special ­adviser to Tessa Jowell at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The two men are backed by an eight-strong panel of consultants that will work on accounts. It includes:

1. Teenage Cancer Trust ­director of comms Lucy Jackson

2. Former director of comms and external affairs at L’Oréal Esra Erkel-Paler

3. M&C Saatchi MD Damian Collins

4. Populus (polling firm) founder Andrew Cooper

5. Former Mail on Sunday editor Jonathan Holborow

Gooderham said: ‘Corporate PR has become stale and lacking creativity. Our track record, approach and people mark us out. Blue-chip companies are hiring us, in talks with us and want to meet us.’

Ledbury has already been asked by Nestlé to advise its global corporate affairs team in Switzerland on CSR and comms. It is also working with HBOS, helping the bank to gain recognition for its financial inclusion work.

Gooderham was most rec-ently deputy MD at Weber Shandwick’s public affairs division, where his clients ­included Nestlé. Bent has been a special adviser at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport since 2003. Before that he spent five years as a director at Burson-Marsteller’s public affairs practice.

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