LONDON--Paul Charles is departing his role as Lewis PR COO, after striking a deal to buy the firm’s travel PR practice and launch a new standalone agency.

Charles is accompanied by Lewis director Julia Perowne, the duo forming PCC (Perowne Charles Communications). Lewis PR's 10 travel practice clients, including BMI and Singapore Tourism Board, and eight staff members also transfer to the new firm as part of the deal.

Charles has grown Lewis PR’s travel practice considerably since joining the agency from Virgin Atlantic last year, where he worked as communications director for four years.

He denied that the deal indicated a poor fit at Lewis. “I think it was a good fit - I just decided that I fancy a good shot at running my own business. So did Julia, and that’s why I think this is a very strong partnership. In effect it’s a transfer - the division was pretty self-contained anyway.”

“My heart lies in travel," he added. "I like the clients and strategy and I wanted to run my own business with Julia. This enables Lewis to focus on technology so it is a good deal.”

"Our strategic consumer plan does not include a niche focus on travel, therefore we’re pleased to offer Paul and Julia this opportunity to purchase the travel business," said Lewis CEO Chris Lewis in a statement. "Proceeds from this sale will be re-invested back into the consumer division and we will be making a further announcement in this area shortly.”