Former NoW editor Andy Coulson sets up PR firm

David Cameron’s ex-communications director, who was jailed over phone hacking, launches firm offering corporate strategy and communications advice

Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s former communications director who was sentenced to 18 months in jail over phone hacking at the News of the World, has returned to the spotlight by setting up a PR firm, it has emerged.

Coulson Chapell promises its clients “discreet corporate strategy and communications advice”.

According to Companies House records, the firm was set up in January, with Coulson one of two owners. The former News of the World editor will be working alongside Pitch PR founder Henry Chappell.

A statement hinted that, nearly five years after he left Downing Street, Coulson is planning to return to the political arena.

“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,” said Chappell on Thursday.

Coulson said it had been a longstanding ambition to set up his own firm and he called Chappell the perfect business partner. He said: “From our combined experience, Coulson Chappell can offer a unique perspective to clients looking for clear, discreet and effective strategic advice.”

Coulson was NoW editor between 2003 and 2007, having joined its sister title the Sun in 1988. He resigned from the Sunday paper when its royal editor, Clive Goodman, was convicted of phone hacking. Coulson then became the Conservative party’s director of communications.

Following the 2010 general election, he was appointed to the same job in Downing Street by Cameron, the incoming prime minister. About a year later, he was arrested over phone-hacking allegations following his resignation from Downing Street in January 2011.

He was charged with conspiracy to illegally intercept communications and, in 2014, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, eventually serving just under five. His arrest and subsequent conviction led some to question the prime minister’s judgment.

Coulson’s new firm was set up on 11 January this year, with the marketing consultant William Andrews as joint owner and director. It was originally given the name C and C Advisory Ltd but was changed soon after.

It will share the Soho offices used by Pitch, the sports PR agency Chappell founded and where he serves as chief executive. In a statement, Coulson Chappell said the two businesses would run separately, but that “synergies between [them] will be sought”. Chappell has worked in the sports industry for about 20 years.

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Kevin Rawlinson

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