Lord Mandelson to team up with WPP to launch Global Counsel LLP – and he’s spinning already

How so? Well former Labour minister Lord (Peter) Mandelson is launching a PR and advisory firm Global Counsel LLP with backing from Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP but for once the loquacious spinmeister seems at a loss for words.

Sorrell too is mysteriously ‘unavailable for comment.’

Now this could be because the news broke before they wanted it to (Sky News seems to have got it first) but it seems most unlikely that two of the best-connected and most media savvy individuals in the UK would have been caught out in such a way.

Could it be that Mandelson is hedging his bets on the new venture of which he’s to be chairman (it’s going to be run by Benjy Webb-Prosser a former adviser to Tony Blair)?

After all he’s hardly going to want to sit around waiting for clients when bigger jobs may present themselves.

The name itself is a bit of a mystery. Global Counsel fine, but LLP? As far as I know this stands for limited partnership, an accounting wheeze favoured by lawyers and accountants who want to enjoy the benefits of limited liability when their clients sue them. So it’s a bit odd to put it in the name.

Mandelson’s old colleague and boss Tony Blair has a made a mint out of advising foreign companies including bank JP Morgan but Blair cashed in rapidly on his departure from office in 2007 when Labour was still in power. Now it most definitely isn’t.

Mandelson has benefited from WPP’s largesse before of course, he was a small shareholder in Johnny Hornby’s Clenmow Hornby Inge when it sold 49 per cent to WPP for a chunky £30m.

Well we’ll see if Global Counsel LLP has staying power, with or without Mandelson. It looks a bit like a punt on the part of his lordship rather than a considered choice of new career.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.