Maja Pawinska Sims 21 Jan 2021 // 4:34PM GMT
LONDON — MHP has restructured its public affairs leadership, bringing in Pfizer’s public affairs chief Nick Reid as a director in the practice.
The Engine Group agency has also put a new leadership structure in place, with Jamie Lyons becoming head of public affairs and James Gurling being made executive chair of the practice.
Reid currently leads Pfizer’s Brexit public affairs work, advising the business on the political and policy environment, including the implications of international trade developments, in particular the details of UK-US trade talks. He previously provided strategic guidance to clients at political research and campaigns specialist CT Partners, and before that he was special adviser to the Conservative Party chairman.
Lyons described Reid as “a class act” and said: “It is a real coup to get him. He has an insider’s understanding of the Conservative Party and a real grasp of data-led campaigning. He also has fantastic experience of working client side and knowing exactly what clients want from their agency. We have built a brilliant team at MHP and he will be a great addition."
Reid said: “The combination of top-tier Westminster and Whitehall experience, a team with more former political journalists than any other agency, and unique understanding of how behavioural science can shape campaigns, all drew my attention to the agency – as it clearly does for so many new clients – and I look forward to adding my experience and expertise in February."
As joint heads of public affairs at the agency, Lyons and Gurling have built the public affairs practice from the ground up over the past three years. Lyons now becomes sole head of practice, while as chair, Gurling will continue to offer senior public affairs counsel and work on initiatives with CEO Alex Bigg.
The first of these will be expanding the agency’s strategic advisory board to advise clients across MHP and sister agency Mischief’s client portfolio. There will also be a focus on the agency’s political campaigning offer, as well as enhancing its data and analytics capability, and increasing its use of behavioural science.
Over the past 12 months, MHP’s public affairs income has grown 27% to £3 million, and it now has 20 members of staff. Recent wins include Klarna, the Department for International Trade, South Western Rail, TalkTalk, the Welsh Assembly Government, Assured Cyber Protection, Avonchem, Phoenix Medical and the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
Gurling said: “In a year dominated by Brexit and Covid, public affairs has come of age. Establishing an advisory function will add further value to vibrant mix of communications counsel already available to our growing client base.”
Bigg added: “Jamie and James have built a hugely successful practice in a very short time. This move will ensure that this progress continues both within the practice and for the company as a whole."