PR heavyweights unite to launch media consultancy

TWO of Scotland’s best-known media relations advisers are launching a communications business backed by some of the biggest names in Edinburgh and London.

From left, Malcolm Robertson, Sir Angus Grossart and Andrew Wilson are behind the new Charlotte Street Partners
From left, Malcolm Robertson, Sir Angus Grossart and Andrew Wilson are behind the new Charlotte Street Partners

Former Royal Bank of Scotland adviser Andrew Wilson and ex-BAA communications director Malcolm Robertson have teamed up with Roland Rudd, one of Britain’s top public relations executives, and the Scottish merchant banker Sir Angus Grossart, to launch Charlotte Street Partners.

Grossart becomes chairman while Rudd and James Murgatroyd of PR firm RLM Finsbury will be non-executive directors alongside Johnny Hornby, founder of the international marketing services group, The & Partnership.

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Wilson and Robertson will be joined as partners by former journalists Chris Deerin and Sharon Ward. The only other staff will be graduates.

There has been talk of the new consultancy in media circles for some months but the final line-up and launch details have been kept under wraps until today when the launch will be confirmed.

Charlotte Street Partners will begin trading next month and, while it adds to a growing PR sector in Scotland, its founders believe there is still room in the market for the sort of proposition they intend to develop.

It will be one of a few independents, along with Beattie Communications and Media House, with bases in Edinburgh and London.

Grossart said: “There are few challenges more exciting than starting and building a business and I am much enthused to be supporting Charlotte Street Partners. The careful stewardship of reputation and relationships is critical for the resilience and success of all organisations, everywhere.

“We have identified the place in the market we intend to grow from and hope to make a significant impression in London, Scotland and beyond, based on our collective expertise and contacts across business and politics.”

Wilson, a columnist for Scotland on Sunday, joined Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP advertising and PR firm in August last year, after a spell as head of group communications and deputy chief economist at RBS.

From 1999 to 2003, he was an SNP MSP, serving as shadow minister on finance, economy and transport and then economy and lifelong learning. He is also a trustee of the John Smith Memorial Trust and a director of Motherwell Football Club.

Wilson is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland and member of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Institute of Directors and the David Hume Institute.

Robertson, the son of former Scottish secretary Lord Robertson, spent 12 years in senior positions at airport operator BAA, and was its communications director, based at Heathrow. Since 2011, he has advised international private equity firms, infrastructure investors and pension funds on UK acquisitions.

Robertson is a main board director of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and chairman of its London committee.

Deerin was most recently head of comment at the Telegraph Group and is a former political editor of the Daily Record, and former executive editor, columnist and leader writer at Scotland on Sunday.

Ward is a former business journalist at Scotland on Sunday and The Scotsman. She was also a special adviser to the late Donald Dewar.