Gideon Spanier: Brics man Jim O’Neill cements role at high-end PR

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The new Treasury minister and peer is the former Goldman Sachs economist who identified the rise of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and backed the Red Knights consortium that tried to buy Manchester United, captained by Wayne Rooney.

O’Neill has also invested in an unexpected area: he quietly became a partner last year in Milltown, the strategic public relations agency co-founded by Paddy Harverson, former spin doctor for Princes William and Harry, and D-J Collins, formerly of Google.

Milltown is part of a new wave of high-end agencies offering advice to wealthy individuals, companies and institutions.

Others to emerge include Kitchen Table Partners, set up by David Yelland, the former Sun editor turned Brunswick PR man, and Tancredi Group, co-founded by ex-Financial Times journalist Salamander Davoudi.


Each agency is different but there is a common theme: they are tapping into a growing demand from international clients who recognise that London has become a super-capital where global reputations can be made (and lost).

Some of these clients are not seeking publicity but want to “manage their reputation” because it is hard to avoid the spotlight in the age of online and social media.

That is why some of the biggest fees come from keeping stories out of the media.

When a Goldman Sachs alumnus is investing, it is a sign that high-end PR is growing and very profitable.

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May 20, 2015 |
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