Portland loses another senior lobbyist as Thornton quits
Ben Thornton is joining Stonehaven after six years at Tim Allan's agency.
Portland partner Ben Thornton is quitting the agency to join rival public affairs firm Stonehaven.
He becomes the second senior public affairs professional to leave Portland this year after Oliver Pauley quit in April to set up his own agency.
His departure comes after PAN revealed this week that Portland had selected partner Sam Ingleby to take over from Pauley as the agency’s head of UK public affairs and corporate communications. But it is understood that Thornton had already resigned before Ingleby got the nod. He will join Stonehaven later this year.
Thornton joined Portland in 2011 as an associate director having previously been an associate director in Fleishman Hillard’s public affairs team. Portland promoted him to be a partner in 2015.
Stonehaven was set up in 2014 by Peter Lyburn, formerly a senior strategist at Lynton Crosby’s CTF Partners firm. Earlier this year it hired Caroline Preston, former head of broadcasting for David Cameron at Number 10, as a director.
Stonehaven says that it “works across customer strategy, government relations, media relations and capital markets to help global brands put reputation at the heart of their organisations”. The agency is a member of the PRCA and adheres to the PRCA's code of conduct for public affairs professionals.
Lyburn confirmed the hire of Thornton, saying: “His arrival is an important part of our ambition to build a generation defining strategy and communications consultancy. Ben comes with significant corporate affairs experience and agency skills, that will help set Stonehaven up for the next phase of growth."
Portland managing director Mark Flanagan said: "Ben has played a key role in building Portland's corporate and PA business into the 75 people-strong powerhouse that it is today. After six years of great work for Portland, it is entirely understandable why he wants to take on a new challenge and we genuinely wish him the very best.”