LONDON — Jim Donaldson, the former UK and Middle East CEO of FleishmanHillard, has been appointed as non-executive chair of fast-growing consultancy Woodrow.

Donaldson, who announced he was exiting FleishmanHillard last August after nine years, takes up his new role in February. He will work with Woodrow’s CEO and founder Charlie Tarr to guide the strategic direction of the consultancy, with a focus on international expansion, talent acquisition and service innovation.

Woodrow, which positions itself as a “future positive” consultancy, is one of the fastest-growing businesses in Europe, according to the Financial Times’ 1000 listing. It specialises in corporate communications, reputation management and crisis work, and has recently launched strategy and positioning, sustainability, and employee engagement arms.

Before joining FleishmanHillard, Donaldson spent 15 years with Hill & Knowlton, latterly as managing director of corporate communications in London, and then served as EMEA corporate communications lead at Weber Shandwick.

Donaldson said: “I have been hugely impressed by everyone at Woodrow since I first met Charlie a couple of years ago. He’s built a team which is the one to watch in the strategic comms space. After years of disruptive success as a challenger brand, I have no doubt that Woodrow will continue to go from strength to strength.

“This is a moment of huge change for the PR industry and the agency world. Nimble, innovative agencies with a new approach to serving changing client needs will be the winners – and Woodrow is certainly one of those. I can’t wait to get started.”

Founded in 2018, Woodrow’s team works across offices in London, Nairobi and New York. The agency has nearly doubled its revenue in the past two years, winning clients including Bloomberg, US healthcare giant Medtronic, and Lloyd’s Register. It also works with a range of issues-focused clients across sectors including financial services, healthcare and philanthropy.

The agency’s recent work includes securing key worker status for ‘forgotten seafarers’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping to defeat the UK government on its Rwanda legislation alongside refugee charity Choose Love, and managing crisis communications for the shipping industry during the Suez Canal Ever Given incident.

Tarr – one of PRovoke Media’s 2023 Innovator 25 in EMEA – said: “Jim unpicks problems with simplicity and total clarity. He has an incredible eye for talent and knows how to inspire the best in our industry. Beyond his stellar CV, he has the kindness, empathy, and sense of humour I deeply value in leaders. When we discussed this opportunity, I knew he was perfect for Woodrow and where we’re taking this consultancy.

“Jim shares my belief that the PR industry is in flux and challenger brands like ours can make a genuine impact, for both our team and our clients. We’re on a mission to build a super team, and this is another big moment on that journey.”

Donaldson led the merger of FleishmanHillard and Fishburn in 2015 alongside deputy CEO Ali Gee, and revenue at FleishmanHillard more than doubled during his tenure, during which it became the first PR agency to achieve the National Equality Standard for its DE&I practices. He was recently inducted into the ICCO Hall of Fame.

Last week, FleishmanHillard announced it had appointed former Edelman UK co-CEO Hugh Taggart as its new UK CEO.