DUBAI — SEC Newgate has bought a 70% stake in the Middle East arm of Italian agency Twister Communications for €340,000. The Dubai-based operation will rebrand as SEC Newgate ME. The remainder of the equity will be held by Twister chief executive Elena Gramatica, who becomes managing director of the rebranded firm.

LONDON — Healthcare specialist consultancy Open Health has acquired Spirit Medical Communications Group, which has a team of 80 across its Manchester and Cheshire offices. Open Health has bought the business outright and the acquisition sees the departure of Asif Zaman, who founded Spirit in 2006. Spirit will continue to be led by MD Iona Fleming.

LONDON — BCW has launched a new business unit that focuses on improving healthcare marketing and communications using behavioural science and data analytics to decode and influence human behaviour. BCW Why is a team of behavioural science experts that works with marketing and communications leaders to better understand and communicate with customers and stakeholders. The new offering, operating out of BCW’s London market, will be led by Lee Gazey, who joins BCW as managing director and UK board member, reporting to Catherine Keddie, group managing director of Healthcare UK. Gazey joins from Hall & Partners, a global research and strategy agency where he most recently served as global CEO for health.

LONDON — Investment firm Blackstone has named Sneha Patel, a former senior adviser on external and international affairs to the Mayor of London, as a vice-president of public affairs and marketing for Europe. Patel joins a team of seven across Europe, including three VPs, and will report to Blackstone managing director Stephen Lewis. She will be responsible for content, campaigns and strategy.

LONDON — Financial PR, corporate reputation, public affairs and campaigning consultancy Headland has welcomed Jill Easterbrook as non-executive chair following its recent investment from LDC. From 2017 to 2020, Easterbrook served as CEO of fashion retailer, Boden. This followed a 15-year career in a variety of senior management roles at Tesco. She will chair Headland’s investment board which comprises two representatives from LDC alongside Headland CEO Chris Salt and managing partner Dan Mines.

GLOUCESTER, UK — Radioactive PR has been hired by Forbes Advisor, the personal finance insight, news and price comparison website. Radioactive will help Forbes Advisor reach and empower consumers with unbiased reviews and actionable guidance. Sister performance marketing agency Radioactive Talent has been chosen after a three-way competitive pitch to deliver influencer activity for Affinity Water, the largest water-only supplier in the UK, designed to drive participation in its ‘Save our Streams’ campaign.

LONDON — Independent PR agency The PHA Group has opened an office in Manchester. The move is the first major growth initiative from joint MDs Shelley Frosdick and Stuart Skinner since taking over the day-to-day running of the business in 2020. The agency has also appointed a director of regions, Sarah Lawless, and hired Hannah Craig from Finn Communications as head of PHA North.

LONDON — Pangolin has hired Chloe Amsden as client services director and team head. She joins the independent PR agency from Freuds and has worked across food, drink and lifestyle brands, including KFC UK&I, Haig Club and Facebook. Emily Long has also joined Pangolin as an account director, while Daisy Long has joined as an account manager.

BRISTOL, UK — Lifestyle communications agency Fox Collective has been appointed to handle UK PR for Bathroom Brands Group (pictured), which makes bathroom products under the Crosswater, Burlington, Clearwater and Britton brands. The company joins other interiors clients including I Love Wallpaper, Dartington Crystal and Cox & Cox on Fox’s roster.

BELFAST — Digital marketing and branding agency Origin Digital has opened an office in New York in response to growing demand from US clients. The operation will primarily serve fintech and insurtech companies. To support the expansion, Origin has hired seven new employees, bringing its headcount to 31.

LONDON — Health, wellness and lifestyle agency Page & Page and Partners has made two senior hires after a year of expansion. Elin Morris joins the agency as senior account director alongside Anna Yeardly who joins as account director. Both will report into Rachel Harris, client services director.