London, 30 October 2023: Blakeney has hired former Portland partner Hugo Sutherland as its first Managing Director of Public Affairs.

Hugo joins Blakeney following ten years at Portland where he led the firm’s infrastructure and local campaigns work, advising clients across a range of sectors including energy, transport, sport and technology. He began his career working in Westminster for a Member of Parliament. Hugo’s appointment continues a period of sustained growth for the business.

Hugo will lead Blakeney’s public affairs practice which has grown rapidly in the last two years, and now counts Virgin Money and Pennon Group amongst its clients.

Michael Pooley, Blakeney’s Managing Partner said: “I am delighted Hugo is joining Blakeney to lead and grow our public affairs practice. Our foundation is our people, and Hugo is one of the industry’s most impressive and thoughtful practitioners. His insight and perspective will be incredibly valuable to our clients at a time when the political landscape is moving faster than ever. The team is firing on all cylinders and Hugo is the perfect addition at such a busy and exciting time for the business.”

Hugo Sutherland said: “I am thrilled to be joining Blakeney, an agency I’ve long admired.

It’s a business with a strong track record of providing thoughtful strategic advice for clients, backed up by first-class delivery. With big elections on the horizon, there are significant opportunities to add to an impressive list of clients and grow Blakeney’s reputation in the industry. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Blakeney was one of PR Week’s seven new agencies to watch in 2018, first featured in the Top 150 UK PR Agencies in 2021 and climbed 23 places to 108th in 2023. The company was in the top 20 public affairs agencies in the UK in 2023, the top 5 ESG consultancies, and was shortlisted as one of the PR Week’s Best Places to Work.

Revenues in 2022 were £3.6m and are expected to grow by well over 20% in 2023.