July 20, 2024

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Ex-Labour minister to lead lobbying firm Flint Global

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Public affairs group Flint Global has appointed former Labour minister James Purnell as its new chief executive, as the lobbying industry bolsters its ranks with Labour specialists ahead of next month’s election.

Purnell, who served as culture secretary in Gordon Brown’s administration, will join Flint Global in October.

He will take over the executive leadership of the business from co-founders Sir Simon Fraser, former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, and Ed Richards, who previously led media regulator Ofcom.

UK lobbying outfits and professional services businesses are increasingly hiring staff with links to the opposition party, as the industry beefs up its Labour expertise ahead of the election on July 4 that polls forecast will be won by Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

Lobbying firms are so keen to attract figures with Labour links, they have been willing to pay above-market prices, industry figures have said.

Fraser, who will remain on Flint Global’s board with co-founder Richards and will still deal with clients, told the Financial Times that the firm was “of course conscious of the potential political evolution in the country”, but added that “it’s not the sole reason by any means why we chose [Purnell]”.

After leaving government in 2009, where he latterly served as work and pensions secretary, Purnell became a senior adviser at Boston Consulting Group before becoming director of strategy and digital at the BBC in 2013. He has since left the broadcaster, and has been president and vice-chancellor of the University of the Arts London since 2021.

Fraser said Flint Global’s clients were “very keen to understand where Labour is going. They are asking questions about how, in the fiscal circumstances that we face, the government is going to be able to achieve growth.”

He added that “obviously they have a range of…



2024-06-19 08:45:14

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