David Cracknell, founder and director
David was Political Editor of The Sunday Times for six years, and has been covering politics for newspapers for 15 years. During that time he was often invited to speak at conferences on both politics and the media, chaired and spoke at fringe meetings and seminars, and was a frequent commentator on television and radio.
During more than a decade at Westminster for national newspapers, working also for the Sunday Telegraph and Press Association, David was recognised in the UK Press Gazette awards. He helped found Sunday Business with Jeff Randall, the former BBC Business Editor and now Sky presenter, in 1998.
David was also a Managing Director at PR firm FD, formerly Financial Dynamics, where he advised Northern Rock on its recovery plan following the bank being taken into public ownership.
He is listed in the PR Week Powerbook, a "collection of the most powerful people in PR".
He was educated at Oxford University, where he studied law, and worked on the university newspaper Cherwell.
David Rigg advises a wide range of corporate clients, including some of the world’s largest companies, on strategic communications issues. He also acts as advisor to a number of very high profile individuals, including Heads of State and Government and leading figures in the world of entertainment. David is experienced at advising organisations on public affairs in Whitehall, Parliament and Brussels and handling media relations as well as advising companies on making representations on legislation, competition and regulatory issues.
Previously, David was Communications Director of Camelot and was a founder member of the consortium which went on to win the first national lottery licence. Prior to that, he has worked in over a 100 countries around the world, in sales, marketing and management roles. David founded Project Associates in 1997 and is its Managing Director.
He was designated as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential People in PR Over the Past 21 years’ by PR Week magazine.
Jonathan Horsman is a highly-experienced consultant who provides clients with strategic advice on political, media and reputational issues. His clients range from international governments to large corporates which are based both internationally and in the UK.
Jonathan has over 15 years of communications experience. Prior to joining Project Associates, Jonathan was Head of Public Affairs for Provident Financial, a FTSE 100 financial services group. During his time with the company, he was responsible for all UK and EU government relations and for co-ordinating corporate communications activity across Provident's fast-growing International Division with operations based in Central Europe and Latin America.
Jonathan has also worked for Consolidated Communications, where he advised companies on their PR and marketing strategies. He is a Director of Project Associates.
Steven Norris was a Conservative MP for fourteen years. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department of the Environment, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Home Office and later Minister for Transport in London. He is a former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party and contested the mayoralty of London in 2000 and 2004 running Ken Livingstone close on both occasions. He has also assisted the Labour government in the development of integrated transport policy.
Steve is a well-known businessman who was Director General of the Road Haulage Association and has wide experience of both quoted and unquoted companies. These range from Jarvis plc, the infrastructure services company where he has been leading the reconstruction of the company's fortunes as Chairman, to ITIS Holdings plc, the AIM-listed traffic information provider. Steve has also been a business advisor to other companies with clients including The Financial Services Authority, the Strategic Rail Authority, London Electricity, Jaguar Cars and Canary Wharf Group. He is also a frequent writer and broadcaster on a range of issues.
David Seymour was the Political Editor of Mirror Group newspapers for 15 years. He was responsible, with the editors, for policy across the national titles and writing the Voice of the Mirror editorials. He was also responsible for corporate relations with the Government. In addition he was the Mirror's Readers' Editor, dealing with the daily corrections and clarifications column. He also founded and edited Student Mirror, which circulated in most universities, and continues to organise with the National Union of Students, the principal awards for student journalism.
Since leaving the Mirror he has written speeches for government ministers and been a political commentator for the Daily Mail. David has also lectured extensively on the media and broadcasts regularly on radio and television.
John Arnold is a Director and co-founder of PoliticsDirect, a full service public affairs agency established in 1999. Prior to entering Consultancy, John was actively involved in Labour student politics and held a number of senior posts including Chair of Scottish Labour Students. Following student politics, he became the Political Adviser to the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. John subsequently joined the Local Government International Bureau where he was Head of the International Section.
John is an expert on the Brown agenda and has provided public affairs consultancy support to over 60 international blue chip companies, trade bodies, interest groups and local authorities including McDonald's Restaurants, T-Mobile, British Energy, and the Local Government Association. Prior to co-founding PoliticsDirect, John was Acting Managing Director of the Political Division at The Communication Group plc. He is regarded as a leading expert on local government and planning policy.
David Beamer is a Director and co-founder of PoliticsDirect, a full service public affairs agency established in 1999. Prior to entering Consultancy, David was a senior political adviser to the Conservative Party and worked with 8 Secretaries of State on a range of policy briefs including Trade and Industry, Energy, Transport, Culture, Media and Sport, Deregulation, Wales, and Health.
David is an expert on the Cameron agenda and has provided public affairs consultancy support to over 50 international blue chip companies, trade bodies, interest groups and local authorities including Camelot, Abbott Laboratories, MSD, Nokia, and T-Mobile. Prior to co-founding PoliticsDirect, David was Director of Healthcare at The Communication Group plc. He is regarded as a leading authority, and has written articles and delivered speeches, on the use of the Internet in British politics and public affairs consultancy.
Phil Hall is an award winning journalist who edited the biggest selling English newspaper the News of the World for five years before taking up the reins of perhaps the highest profile magazine Hello. He later became the Editorial Director of Development for Trinity Mirror, Europe 's largest newspaper publishing group.
Phil founded Phil Hall Associates (now known as PHA Media) in 2005 with the aim of building a company with a never say never approach to PR drawing on his wealth of experience as a journalist and extensive contacts book.
The company has grown from strength to strength and he prides himself on his services and impressive client list so much so that in the prestigious PR Week Awards 2007, PHA Media was awarded Highly Commended in the New Consultancy of the Year Award 2007. A fantastic achievement against fierce competition.
Giles Palmer is chief executive officer of Brandwatch, a web-based company which monitors what is being said about brands on blogs and the deep internet.
He graduated with a degree in Physics from Durham University in 1990 and trained as an Accountant at Smith & Williamson – the top independent firm in the UK. In 1995, Giles spent a year at Lloyds of London as a project manager within a £50m financial restructuring project covering the whole Lloyds market.
After a spell at Glaxo SmithKline International division running the financial operations for five subsidiaries in Africa, Giles joined Sky Interactive as employee number 10. After two years, Giles was heading up the joint ventures team which was tasked to do deals with dot com companies.
In April 2000, Giles started Magpie (now Brandwatch). The initial vision was to build a technology services company for the long term and the business started with £20k. Within five years it was operating within a good niche, providing Open Source Websites to UK Councils and turning over £1m.
In 2005 the company won a contract to build a search engine for the UK Government, and Giles had the vision to change the direction of the company to become player in the enormous online information sector.
iLaw is an innovative law firm, recently commended in the FT lawyer awards, and works with us on reputational issues. It is a modern law firm founded to cater for the commercial needs of modern businesses. iLaw is made up exclusively of highly experienced commercial lawyers. It is a commercial firm that specialises in technology, media and intellectual property.
While its lawyers have all been in practice for many years, it has a refreshingly young and flexible outlook, adapted to the modern business world. It provides its services in different ways from traditional firms, and, like Big Tent, is conscious of the need to control costs and offer excellent value for money.
Allan Cook has over 22 years in the technology sector focussing on large-scale systems integration, intelligence and security solutions in the public, private and defence sectors. As a business leader Allan has held senior and board-level positions within a number of significant blue-chip organisations, and has sat on various UK and EU standards committees. Currently working predominantly for the Financial Services Authority Allan is designing the intelligence systems and business processes to identify abusive behaviour within the UK stock markets. As a part of this Allan is the FSA’s representative to CESR (Committee of European Securities Regulators) and has been responsible for fostering closer ties with the regulatory bodies of the USA.