Managing the best reputations

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The Communication Group plc
123 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6RA

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Our senior team

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Maureen Sutherland Smith

Chairman

Maureen founded The Communication Group plc in January 1986.  Previously she was Chief Executive of Good Relations Group Plc, the largest public relations company in the UK and the first to be quoted on the London Stock Exchange. In 2011 she was made a Freeman of the City of London and in 2012 was appointed Vice President of Coram, the UK’s oldest children’s charity and subsequently a life Governor in 2016.

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Michael Holmes

Board Director

Michael joined The Communication Group plc in 2001. He previously ran his own consultancy and prior to that built a marketing communications business for an international agency group. His experience includes financial services, corporate and consumer public relations as well as other aspects of marketing communications including design. He has wide experience of advising major companies at a strategic level on the development of their brands and on the marketing of their products and services.

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Sally Hawkins

Chairman of the Management Board

Sally has over 20 years’ consultancy experience in the UK and Asia, specialising in consumer and lifestyle public relations. Her client experience includes; Sun International, Jumeirah Group, One&Only Resorts, Hyatt Hotels, Ballymore, Coutts London Jewellery Week, Burlington Arcade, Masterpiece London, Regent Street, Dubai Tourism,  Mardan Palace, Geneva Tourism, Canary Wharf Group, South Place Hotel, Anahita Mauritius , Nadler Hotels and Grosvenor House Suites.

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Tony Thornton

Finance Director

Tony is a chartered accountant, with over 20 years’ experience of the public relations sector. He trained with the London office of a Big Four firm and after qualifying, undertook various roles in industry and commerce before joining The Communication Group plc.

In addition to his role as Finance Director, he is involved in specialist advisory work on behalf of various clients and oversees the Group’s compliance and legal functions.

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Pippa Wiltshire

Director, Management Board

Pippa has two decades of corporate communications and reputation management experience, running high-impact communications programmes for clients, ranging from multi-national organisations to high growth companies. Client experience includes major real estate developers like Kajima and Ballymore, luxury serviced office provider, Office Space in town, architects astudio, as well as financial and professional services clients including JP Morgan Private Bank and RSM International.   

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John Mills

Director, Management Board

John is a senior public affairs practitioner, with 20 years’ experience, primarily advising clients in the property development, infrastructure and energy sectors on how to achieve their planning and regulatory objectives. His experience includes five years as a senior communications advisor within the onshore wind industry, where as chairman of industry body, RenewableUK’s public affairs group, he worked to promote the interests of the onshore industry with government in a rapidly evolving UK energy policy environment. 

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Bea Garwood

Director, Management Board

Bea has over six years’ corporate and consumer consultancy experience, specialising in property marketing and ‘placemaking’ with experience also in architecture, design, sustainability and health sectors. Her client experience includes Ballymore, Nine Elms on the South Bank, East Village, Edinburgh Marina, This Land, Morpheus, Casa Forma London, Kebony and Nightingale Hospital.

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Anna Hollingworth

Director, Management Board

Anna is a travel and lifestyle specialist with clients including Geneva Tourist Board, Nadler Hotels, Somabay Resort Egypt, Barr Al Jissah Oman,  Jumeirah Group, The Trafalgar St. James Hotel, Utopian Hotel Collection, Crowne Plaza – Albert Embankment, Fulton Umbrellas and The Meat Co restaurant. She has previously worked on campaigns for Mauritius Tourism Board, South Carolina Tourism Board, and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Cultural Authority.

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Sarah Bentall

Director, Management Board

Sarah has more than eight years’ consultancy experience in the UK, specialising in events, ‘experiences’ and affinity marketing. Client experience includes working with top UK and global corporates including Sky, Virgin Media Business, BP and The Estee Lauder Companies as well as international sovereign wealth funds such as the Kuwait Investment Authority and Temasek and financial institutions such as Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and TPG.

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Lara Buckle

Senior Consultant

Lara is a Senior Consultant and has dedicated the last decade to working in the luxury lifestyle space. Specialties include strategic counsel, creative integrated campaigns, affinity marketing, talent liaison, event delivery and management, product launches, digital marketing, news creation and press office management. Clients have included Jumeirah Hotels International, ACCOR Hotels, Melia Hotels International, Starwood Hotels, Ballymore, Beats by Dre, Technogym and Covent Garden.

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Natalie Williams

Account Director

Natalie  has  five years’ consultancy experience in luxury lifestyle public relations and events, building and executing communication strategies for global  brands including; Devonshire Club, Maison Assouline, 10 Trinity Square, Qatar Airways, Opera Gallery and Diageo.

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Harriet Shearer

Account Director

Harriet joined The Communication Group plc in 2015. She is a communication specialist, advising clients across lifestyle, travel, healthcare and financial services sectors. Her client experience includes Jumeirah Hotel Group, Geneva Tourist Board, The Trafalgar St. James Hotel, Soma Bay Resort Egypt, Nightingale Hospital, Utopian Hotel Collection and Crowne Plaza London – Albert Embankment. She is a graduate in Economics from the University of Bristol.

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Melissa Carver

Account Director

Melissa works across a diverse range of sectors, enabling clients to address the needs of multiple stakeholders in an integrated and coordinated way. Her client experience includes Edinburgh Marina, Rockwell, Queensgate Investments, Kebony, Drone Major Group, Westferry, Whitbread plc, Get Living (Elephant and Castle), Reading Football Club and the Nine Elms regeneration partnership. She previously worked at Westminster, supporting the Central Office of one of the UK’s major political parties, and brings stakeholder engagement and communication expertise.

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Alicia Lowes

Account Director

Alicia specialises in consumer lifestyle and luxury travel. Her client experience includes: Corbin & King Restaurants, London Silver Vaults, Wanderlust Wine, Maison Assouline and leading Caribbean hotels such as: Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort, Coral Reef Club and Blue Waters.

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Charlotte Hirst

Account Manager

Charlotte works across a diverse range of consumer sectors, including placemaking, travel and lifestyle. She has experience in creating high profile events, specifically for placemaking clients, and expertise in media relations. Client experience includes Ballymore, AllBright Club, Geneva Tourism Board, Somabay Resort and Fulton Umbrellas.

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Gordon Cole Schmidt

Account Manager

Gordon is a media relations specialist. He is a graduate in Russian and English from the University of Exeter, and has worked across property, travel and corporate sectors with clients including Queensgate Investments, Jumeirah Hotels, The Trafalgar St. James, Utopian Hotel Collection, Crowne Plaza – London Albert Embankment, Guildford Business Park  and Linton Group.

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Tom Batchelar

Senior Advisor

Tom has spent two decades working with businesses across a variety of sectors from both journalistic and consultancy perspectives, with mandates spanning strategic corporate communication programmes, reputation management, crisis management, broadcast and digital/social media. He has worked with Jack Wills, Thomson Reuters, Renaissance Group, Berkeley Group and National Grid, among others.

He spent ten years in broadcast journalism working as a producer for the BBC Business and Economics Unit for Breakfast and BBC World and prior to that as a senior producer at Bloomberg Television.

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Camilla Mitchell-Smith

Head of Operations

Camilla is responsible for management of all operational support services within the consultancy and the smooth running of the Chairman’s office. In this capacity she works alongside the senior team in support of client service.