LONDON — Fenella Grey has returned to the helm of Porter Novelli in London and has been elevated to the new role of EMEA managing director.

Grey, who joined Porter Novelli from Freuds in 2013 and became UK managing director a year later, had moved into the agency’s first chair role in July 2018, working two days a week for the agency as part of a global restructure.

At that time, Jo Patterson and Nicole Yost were both promoted to deputy managing director and took on responsibility for leading the London office. Patterson moved to 3 Monkeys Zeno last September as MD after the departure of Christine Jewell, while Yost moved to BCW last June as MD of healthcare business transformation.

Grey told PRovoke Media: It was a big decision to step out of the day-to-day leadership role as UK managing director of a thriving agency but after five years of double digit growth year-on-year, in early 2018 it was time to experiment. I stepped into a two-day a week consultancy role as chair for PN London and globally, and got involved with an array of projects and still enjoy sitting on a variety of advisory boards covering politics, education, female entrepreneurialism, anti-obesity and climate action.

"And then came along a bigger opportunity: leadership of our EMEA proposition for PN. The pandemic made me feel protective of PN, the brand that I love and the work that I’m so proud of. Devising the agency’s strategy with the leadership team and all staff last November, we realised we have a proposition that’s waiting to be brought to market a lot more proactively for EMEA. It’s time for us to stop being quietly brilliant and get ourselves on the radar we deserve to be on, as we continue to help our clients drive business growth and have positive impact in the wider world.”

Grey will be supported by a refreshed EMEA and London leadership team, with new appointments to be confirmed next month.

In her new role, Grey reports to CEO David Bentley, who joined the agency last March from McKinsey after the departure of Brad MacAfee at the end of 2019.

Bentley told PRovoke Media: “I’m delighted to welcome Fenella back fully into the business and elevate her into the role of EMEA managing director at Porter Novelli. Fenella has established an impressive and actions-focused board, with London being a critical and innovative global centre of excellence for Porter Novelli worldwide. Fen has also joined our global executive team and will be instrumental in developing our global direction and service offerings.”

He added: “The market opportunity for Porter Novelli in EMEA is immense and we are ready to show up as an agile and efficient partner to clients in the region, connecting flexibly seamlessly with experts across the Omnicom network and beyond. We are investing in our proposition for the EMEA market, with more exciting news to follow imminently.”