LONDON — Portland has hires former senior special advisor to the UK government Emma Dean as a managing director.

Dean joins the agency after spending three years as a special adviser to the chancellor of the exchequer, the prime minister’s chief of staff and two health secretaries. During her time in government, Dean worked on the delivery of the National Cyber Security Strategy, the Covid-19 response, including the rollout of the vaccine programme, and devised and delivered the first Women’s Health Strategy for England.

Before starting work for the government in 2019, Dean was at Hanover Communications for nearly four years, latterly as an associate director. She was also a director at civil liberties organisation Big Brother Watch. 

At Portland, Dean will work in the public affairs unit and will also act as an advisor to the agency’s health team.

Chief executive Vikki Dean, who was named as CEO in May this year, said: “We are thrilled to have Emma on board to strengthen our public affairs and policy offer. Her experience will bring unique insight and impact to our clients, and our business.”

Portland, part of Omnicom Public Relations Group (OPRG), has made several senior hires this year, including David Page, former UK and Ireland communications director at Tesco, and ex-Bank of England communications director Mike Peacock joining as senior advisors. Former Marks & Spencer communications lead, Justin Talbot also joined as a director.

Former Portland CEO Mark Flanagan, recently took up a new position as president of European public and corporate affairs at parent company OPRG.