Blakeney, one of the UK’s fastest growing communication and public affairs consultancies, has hired Rob Van Rooyen as its first Chief Strategy Officer.

Rob joins Blakeney during a period of continued growth, which has seen the business increase its revenues by 30% every year for the past 5 years. His appointment follows that of former Labour Shadow Minister, Melanie Onn, and senior Labour staffer, Dan Hogan, as well as the announcement of a new strategic partnership with US public affairs consultancy, Global Situation Room.

Rob will lead strategy work across all of Blakeney’s current clients as well as on new business pitches and proposals, and will work on the firm’s plans to develop innovative new products and services and to grow internationally.

Rob’s 27 years in communication strategy has included roles in some of the world’s largest advertising agencies, including DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, and McCann Worldwide. He also founded his own agency group, Brave Group, in his native South Africa, with specialisms in brand, internal comms, advertising production, digital and data, youth, and PR and reputation. He sold Brave Group to FastGro Holdings in 2020.

Gabe Winn, Blakeney’s CEO and Founder, said: “Blakeney’s approach to communication strategy is market-leading, and we’re constantly bringing the best and brightest thinking into our team. Rob has one of the sharpest strategic and creative minds I’ve come across, and I’m delighted to welcome him to Blakeney as we continue to solve the world’s most complex communication challenges.”

Rob Van Rooyen said: “I really like how Blakeney thinks and how it’s building a different type of agency ready to meet the future needs of its clients. I’m delighted to have joined an excellent team that is focused on disrupting the status quo and using strategic communications to affect positive change.”

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 this year to 108th. 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.