Shandwick plays down Hogarth breakaway

Shandwick Consultants this week attempted to neutralise the damage caused by the departure of four board directors, led by chief executive Chris Matthews, to form PR firm: the Hogarth Partnership.

Shandwick Consultants this week attempted to neutralise the damage

caused by the departure of four board directors, led by chief executive

Chris Matthews, to form PR firm: the Hogarth Partnership.



The agency brought forward plans to create three distinct business

units.



Colin Byrne becomes managing director of Shandwick Public Affairs, John

Reynolds of Shandwick Financial and James Poole of Shandwick

Corporate.



It has also promoted four to the board: Rollo Head, Roya Nasser, Andrew

Best and Andrew Millington.



Shandwick UK managing director Colin Trusler, who moves back to

Consultants while it searches for a new chief executive, also tried to

quash speculation that the breakaway could take many of the agency’s key

accounts including the pounds 400,000 3i account.



He stressed that all the departing executives had signed standard

restrictive covenants preventing them from working for Shandwick clients

or employing staff for 12 months, without its agreement.



But industry observers point out that many such agreements have

variations built into them allowing for business to be transferred if

the client wishes. Both sides indicated a possible compromise in which

Hogarth - which opens on 1 April - would work alongside Shandwick on

certain accounts.



Hogarth’s founders include Shandwick directors Nick Denton, John Olsen

and Rachel Hirst, plus associate director James Longfield. Each will

have 15 per cent of the equity. Matthews - who has a 25 per cent stake -

said the firm would be more ’collegiate’ in style than Consultants.



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