In June of 2009, when the global financial crisis was still striking terror into the hearts of political and business leaders around the world and most City CEOs were still cowering under their desks refusing the engage with an understandably hostile media, nervous employees and confused customers, Angus Maitland wrote an article for Securities Investment Review in which he offered his assessment of the issue.
“Instead of being defensive, financial services firms must accept that the crisis has shown a mirror to the City. The recession has brought into sharp focus public perception of the sector and the lack of effective communication with existing and potential customers…. What you are left with is a poorly understood industry, which suffers widely held misconceptions among its audiences, being hit by a financial crisis of unprecedented scale.”
It was the kind of candid, fearless analysis for which Maitland is well-known and well-respected, and it was followed by the kind of practical public relations counsel that has made Maitland a trusted advisor to CEOs and boards of directors in the U.K. and across Europe over the past 25 years and has helped him build his firm The Maitland Consultancy (now just Maitland) into one of the most respected names in corporate and financial communications.
“Angus is a class act,” Sunday Times business editor John Waples told PR Week a few years ago, capturing the consensus view. “A straight-talking Scotsman who tells it as it is.”
Before launching his own consultancy in 1994, Maitland had worked with some of the biggest and best financial communications agencies in the U.K. He was director of planning and research at Charles Barker (later integrated into Weber Shandwick) and at Valin Pollen; head of consultancy and later chairman and CEO at The VPI Group (at the time, one of the most respected PR firms in the City); and then global head of corporate and financial PR and later worldwide vice-chairman at Burson-Marsteller. (He also worked in a variety of marketing roles at The Weir Group and Sybron Corporation and as a management consultant at R.W. Kinnaird.)
Under Maitland’s leadership, the firm has advised on some of the largest corporate transactions in Europe, from Olivetti’s bid for Telecom Italia to Vodafone’s bid for Mannesmann to the contested takeover of NatWest Group to Mittal’s takeover of Arcelor, and the firm consistently ranked among the top five in the mergermarket league table of M&A advisors in the U.K. and in continental Europe. Beyond the M&A arena, Maitland has handled high-profile IPOs (3i, Thomson Travel Group); demergers (British Gas, The Burton Group, BT); and crises from restructurings to litigation.
Maitland has also built the firm—which sold a stake to French holding company Havas in 2001—into a global force, partnering with Havas-owned Abernathy MacGregor in the U.S. and EuroRSCG C&O in France, and with leading independents such as Hering Schuppener in Germany and (more recently) global public affairs agency APCO Worldwide to offer seamless services around the world.