Former News of the World editor and UK government communications director Andy Coulson (below) – sentenced to 18 months in jail for his part in the phone hacking scandal that saw the demise of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World – has re-emerged as a co-founder of Coulson Chappell, a new PR firm.
Henry Chappell is CEO of sports PR company Pitch. Coulson Chappell will share Pitch’s Soho offices.
Chappell says: “With Andy’s extensive experience across media and politics, and a growing demand from CEOs, companies and organisations for strategic corporate and communications advice, we feel there is a real opportunity to establish a new agency in the marketplace.”
Coulson says: “From our combined experience, Coulson Chappell can offer a unique perspective to clients looking for clear, discreet and effective strategic advice.”
Coulson, who many thought was unfortunate to be jailed when other high profile News International executives were acquitted, served less than five months of his sentence. He began his Murdoch career at the Sun, working alongside Piers Morgan on the Bizarre showbiz column which he went on to edit. It sounds as though his new company will be as concerned as much with keeping people out of the media as winning publicity for them, so entertainment industry clients may be on his horizon.
In his long career as a tabloid journalist Coulson will have dealt frequently with the one-time doyen of showbiz PR’s dark arts, Max Clifford. Clifford, though, is currently serving an eight-year sentence for indecent assaults on women so is unable to lend a hand.
We wish Coulson well – most people deserve a second chance. He’ll need some pretty brave clients in the first instance though. It’s unlikely the the Conservative Party, another of his old employers, will be one of them.