LONDON — Mary Pollard has joined strategic communications agency Portland as a partner to lead its new Global Impact practice.

Pollard was most recently head of society communications at Diageo, where as part of the global communications team she led on the global drinks company’s reputation around issues including public health, responsible drinking and CSR.

The new Global Impact team’s collective experience includes working with global businesses, NGOs, foundations and UN agencies on issues ranging from climate change, inequality, skills and workforce development through to universal health coverage, governance in Africa and the refugee crisis.

Alongside Pollard, the team will be led by senior partner Jane Brearley and partner Robert Watkinson, who has driven the agency’s work over the last decade with some of the world’s leading foundations including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kofi Annan Foundation. Nicola Howson, Portland’s senior advisor, will provide additional strategic counsel.

Brearley said: “The diversity of our expertise and thinking across the Global Impact team, means that we are partnering with organisations of all sizes to help with complex communications challenges on a global scale. It is a different kind of work and work which everyone here is incredibly passionate about and excited to be doing.”

Pollard, who has advised brands including Unilever, Mondelez International, HSBC and Sky on reputation, social responsibility and purpose-led communications, said: “The combination of Portland’s experience of working with pioneering changemakers and our ability to deliver impactful communications and advocacy on a global scale makes this an exciting time to be joining the Global Impact team.”