LONDON — Three of Weber Shandwick’s B2B technology leaders are leaving the agency to start their own venture early next year.

Joe Walton, UK managing director of the B2B technology practice (pictured, centre), planning managing director David Woodward (right) and director Charlie Meredith-Hardy (left) have led the transformation of the B2B and technology practice at Weber Shandwick, along with Laura Tapper, who has been promoted to managing director of the practice and is staying with the firm.

Walton said: “After a combined 32 years with the firm, we are leaving Weber Shandwick and will be officially launching a new B2B-focused agency together in 2020. Weber Shandwick is an outstanding firm and we’ve loved every minute of our time there. Now it’s time for new beginnings and a shot at building something really special.”

Meredith-Hardy and Walton have been with Weber Shandwick since 2007, while former business journalist Woodward joined in 2014. The new firm, which will launch in January, is as-yet unnamed.

Walton and Meredith-Hardy have been running the IBM account in Europe – one of Weber Shandwick’s biggest global clients – for the past 18 months. The B2B tech practice saw double-digit growth in the first half of 2019, with client wins in the past 18 months including the likes of DocuSign, DP World, Epson, Experian, Trustly and Splunk.

London managing director Helen Bennett, who was promoted into the role this May, told the Holmes Report: “Joe, David and Charlie have been great contributors to our agency; they leave with our very best wishes for their next endeavour.”

Bennett added that the agency’s B2B and tech practice “continues to go from strength to strength” under Tapper’s leadership: “Laura has been central to the development of our integrated B2B and tech marketing offer and the development of a high performing and results-driven team, committed to delivering exceptional outcomes for our clients and partners. We are excited about continuing to grow and evolve our services in this space as we head into 2020.”

Former Weber Shandwick EMEA CEO Colin Byrne, who worked with all three of the leavers for many years, told the Holmes Report: “Joe and his colleagues were among the brightest and best I worked with at Weber Shandwick and totally transformed our tech practice. Joe is a real entrepreneur with a passion for his specialism.”