LONDON — PR industry veteran Stephen Waddington has left Metia, the digital marketing agency he joined at the start of 2019, to start his own professional services firm.

Waddington’s new venture, Wadds Inc, will help agencies and organisations build better business; managing issues related to change, culture, growth, modernisation, re-financing, sustainability and talent.

He joined Metia as managing director after six years at Ketchum, first as European digital and social media director and then as chief engagement officer. At Metia, Waddington led a team of 60 on content marketing, social media, lead generation and communications campaigns. He said: I’d done the job I was hired to do over the past 18 months, and it’s time to hand over to the next generation of management.”

Wadds Inc is not the first time Waddington has started his own business: he co-founded two firms with Steve Earl, former European MD at Zeno and until recently APCO Worldwide: Rainier PR in 1998, and Speed in 2009, before the duo left for Ketchum and Zeno respectively.

Waddington told PRovoke: “It’s not all doom and gloom at the moment – coming out of Covid-19 there will be so much opportunity for PR. The value of comms has been elevated in organisations from the civil service to public companies; if it wasn’t in the C-suite before, it is now, partly because we are so good at managing all stakeholders.”

He added: “In the coming months I look forward to helping organisations explore and build next generation business models and communication teams.”

Waddington will be managing partner of the new business, which already has two launch clients and is partnering with specialists in areas such as recruitment and HR, corporate finance and management accounting, and law.

Wadds Inc been founded with a manifesto of “seven operating principles to build better businesses”: change management; sustainability and growth; working smarter; hard work and difficult jobs; listening and engagement; mentoring and teaching; and leadership.