Portland captures top advisers from Theresa May’s No 10 team
Exclusive: Deputy political director Nick Hargrave is the latest aide to jump ship
Portland has significantly bolstered its senior team with the appointment of three former Downing Street advisors.
Tim Allan’s agency has snapped up Will Tanner and Nick Hargrave, both of whom recently resigned from Number 10 following the general election. Portland has also snared Laura Trott , who was head of was head of strategic communications at Number 10 under David Cameron.
Tanner joins the agency as its chief policy adviser having resigned as deputy head of the Number 10 policy unit just days after the general election – and hot on the heels of the prime minister’s chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.
A Portland source said Tanner would "advise clients on the policy priorities of the Conservative government, including Brexit". The role of chief policy adviser at Portland was previously held by Lord O’Shaughnessy, now a junior minister at the Department for Health.
Hargrave returns to Portland as a corporate director having started his career at the agency in 2010 and gone on to be a speechwriter for Cameron.
Public Affairs News understands that Hargrave resigned from his post of deputy political director in Number 10 in the last few weeks. His resignation is a fresh blow for the prime minister who has already lost ten advisers since the election and will have hoped that the exodus was coming to an end.
Trott, who was awarded an MBE in Cameron's resignation honours, joins Portland as a partner in its corporate group. The corporate group at Portland is made up of 80 consultants and works across public affairs, corporate, internal, digital, research and insights, local and financial communications.
The trio of senior hires will serve to cement Portland’s reputation as the UK’s most heavyweight public affairs agency.
Head of corporate and senior partner Sam Ingleby confirmed the appointments. In a statement, he said: “Our clients are turning to Portland for increasingly sophisticated advice at a time when all businesses are facing some of the most significant challenges of recent times.
“The addition of Will, Laura and Nick will not only enhance our ability to offer our clients unrivalled insight into the way the government thinks but also to our understanding of data, research, campaign strategy and communications. “
Tanner said: “Portland is the best in the business. I have always been hugely impressed by the quality of their insights and calibre of their people. After a rewarding and challenging time advising the Prime Minister, I look forward to helping their clients succeed at a critical time for businesses and policymakers.”
Trott said: "I am delighted to be joining Portland; it will be a privilege to work alongside a team unparalleled in the industry and help clients navigate a pivotal juncture for the UK."
Hargrave said: “I have seen first-hand Portland’s impressive growth and I am thrilled to return to what is today a bigger, stronger and more diversified business with the highest quality of people and clients. I am excited to bring my experience and expertise from No 10 and a number of political campaigns to Portland’s clients across sectors and disciplines.”