LONDON--Former Edelman EMEA CEO Robert Phillips has teamed up with George Pitcher to launch a new senior-level consultancy called Jericho Chambers.
Phillips, who departed his Edelman role last year, becomes head of chambers, while former Luther Pendragon co-founder Pitcher assumes the role of chairman. The duo are joined by ex-Penn Schoen Berland executive Christine Armstrong and sustainability specialist Jules Peck.
Jericho Chambers, said Phillips, will operate in the manner of a legal chambers, with each member serving as a self-employed business. "It’s more fun when you do it with mates," said Phillips. "And none of us compete."
There will be shared intellectual property and products, added Phillips, with a specific focus on senior-level counsel and advisory services that span such areas as insights, trust, public ethics and sustainability. Phillips said that Jericho is currently building out its offering to eight members but will not exceed 16.
Significantly, the new firm is supported by a broader network of independent businesses that will handle implementation. Partners include management consultancy Circus; creative agency Khanna Reidinga; market research firm USurv; and mobile player Milk.
"Too often comms is brought in too early or too late to solve the wrong problems," explained Phillips of Jericho's approach. "Some of the most intricate comms problems are issues of substance - historically PR firms have rushed in to solve problems which they are not qualified to."
"The thought is we will work with partners," he added. "There are no hidden fees or mark-ups - there will be full transparency."
Phillips joined Edelman in 2004, when the firm he co-founded in 1987, Jackie Cooper Public Relations, was acquired by Edelman. He was named UK CEO of the US agency in 2007, becoming EMEA chief in 2011. He quit the agency just two weeks after taking on additional global duties.
After overseeing the Observer's industrial coverage, Pitcher co-founded Luther Pendragon with Charles Stewart-Smith in 1992. The firm was bought out by senior management in 2005. Pitcher was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 2005, and also served for a year as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s secretary for public affairs.