Rud Pedersen adds weight to UK team with four new expert professionals

15 Jan 2024, 09:00

Leading independent European public affairs and strategic communications firm Rud Pedersen has recruited former Labour MP John Woodcock, Lord Walney, to counsel its clients and support its consultants as a Senior Adviser.

Lord Walney currently serves as the Government's independent adviser on political violence and disruption, as well as Trade Envoy to Tanzania, and has environment, social and governance (ESG) expertise as Chair of the Purpose Business Coalition. He was elected in 2010 as the Labour MP for Barrow and Furness and served as Shadow Minister for Transport and chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party’s defence and foreign affairs committees. In the final term of the last Labour Government, he was the political spokesman to then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Downing Street and was a special adviser in the Cabinet Office, Department for Work and Pensions and Business Department. He has worked on counter extremism with Tony Blair and entered the House of Lords in 2020. He sits as a crossbench peer.

Also joining Rud Pedersen’s London office is Associate Director Hugh Bennett, a former Senior Special Adviser at 10 Downing Street, handling multiple policy briefs with particular focus on cross-Whitehall regulatory reform and the Brexit negotiations as a senior member of the UK’s negotiating team. Previously he served as a Special Adviser to the Foreign Secretary and in the Cabinet Office as Special Adviser to the Leader of the House of Commons. He is a former News Editor at Guido Fawkes and regular political commentator on BBC, Sky News and other national media.

Jamie Holyer joins the team as Senior Adviser - Healthcare. Jamie is a seasoned professional with a long track record advising on healthcare policy, government affairs, corporate communications and patient advocacy. He was a client of Rud Pedersen when he served as Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Northern Europe at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, has built and led his own very successful public affairs consultancy, is a former Labour Party press officer and policy adviser, and has been a healthcare journalist for several publications. Jamie will work closely with Rud Pedersen’s European healthcare team to help develop the firm’s UK practice in this sector.

Joe Holden joins Rud Pedersen from Lexington Communications as a Senior Consultant. Joe has five years’ experience advising high profile organisations in the UK on public affairs and regulatory issues, with his client experience including British Airways, Kimberly-Clark, Landsec and Mars. He is a well-connected Labour Party activist and Champion of the Labour in Communications network. In addition to his time at Lexington, Joe previously worked in the London office of Sard Verbinnen & Co (now FGS Global).

Jon Aarons, Managing Partner UK at Rud Pedersen, commented: “This is a strong quartet of highly experienced policy specialists. We’re excited that our growing success in London is enabling us to attract such talented advisers. Across Europe, we celebrated our 20th year of profitable growth, opened our 15th office in Kyiv and our 16th in Madrid. Having doubled our UK revenue last year, advising many interesting clients on a broad spectrum of situations, we have kicked off 2024 in robust health.”

Lord Walney said: “I am delighted to begin supporting Rud Pedersen’s brilliant UK team at the outset of such an important year in British politics. All eyes are on the change that a future Labour Government may bring in an election year with a fragile economy and deeply troubled international environment. I am looking forward to using my two decades of experience and expertise in politics and government to advise organisations seeking to understand and navigate this complex landscape.”