Corporate and financial communications and public affairs
The past 12 months have been busy over at Global Consulting Group, the corporate, financial, and public affairs firm that is a part of Lord Peter Chandlington’s rapidly-expanding Huntsworth Group. GCG is not alone in looking at the nexus of corporate communications, financial communications (particularly transaction-oriented counsel) and public affairs and seeing an opportunity to create a high-powered public relations consulting firm that offers high value services to CEOs, CFO, and other denizens of the C-suite. Other, better established firms recognize the opportunity, but from a standing start three years ago, GCG has built a nicely balanced portfolio in all three categories—corporate, financial, and public affairs—on both sides of the Atlantic.
GCG was founded when Huntsworth acquired the IR consulting group of Thomson Financial and appointed former Kekst and GolinHarris executive Richard Wolff as chief executive. Within a few months, Wolff had lured a top notch corporate team to join him in New York and economist Jaime de Pinies was hired to open an office in Spain. In rapid succession, the firm acquired Hudson Sandler, a financial communications firm, in London; named former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro to lead a U.S. public affairs practice; bought Chicago-based strategic consulting firm Summit; and most added Ergo Communications, a public affairs firm with offices in London and Brussels.
This year, GCG has added Citigate Public Affairs in a restructuring that followed the acquisition of parent company Incepta. With 32 people in London and Brussels, led by highly-regarded public affairs veteran Warwick Smith, the Citigate operation provides critical mass to the public affairs practice in the U.K. (including the ability to reach out to Westminster, Whitehall and the Scottish Parliament); the foundation of a public affairs business in Brussels, where Stephanie Luvovick leads a team of a half-dozen consultants; and the potential to leverage a trans-Atlantic public affairs operation.
Major assignments over the past 12 months include corporate communications and media training for L’Oreal in both the U.K. and France; a corporate and media relations assignment for Volvo; a multi-market project for Aga Khan Development Network; public affairs assistance for the British Generic Drug Manufacturers Association; the Land of Leather IPO; corporate responsibility and EU regulatory work for ABB; and work in Spain for clients including Mills Corporation, Wrigley, and Telefonica.
The firm has more than 70 people in EMEA (London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Madrid and Tel Aviv), including a London leadership team of Chris Bunting (corporate), Andrew Hayes (financial), and Simon Nayyar (public affairs) and employs around 150 globally, all operating under a single profit centre in an attempt to ensure the focus stays on clients, with a minimum of internal bureaucracy. The structure is flat, and there’s a focus on hiring talented, experienced senior counsellors. The acquisitions will likely continue, but a bigger challenge is building the brand, still relatively young and unknown.