Andy Coulson's PR firm parts company with Telegraph

Coulson Chappell, set up after he was released from jail for conspiracy to intercept voicemails, was hired to promote image of newspapers

The Telegraph is understood to have dispensed with the services of Andy Coulson, less than four months after hiring the former editor of the News of the World to promote the image of the paper.

Coulson’s public relations firm Coulson Chappell, set up after he was released from jail following the phone-hacking scandal, was appointed in March.

At the time his contract was said to have been to improve the standing of the company’s publications, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph.

The appointment was overseen by longstanding chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, who said that Coulson Chappell would “add value to the business”.

Some staff were said to be shocked by the decision to appoint such a controversial figure. In 2014 Coulson was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of conspiracy to intercept voicemails.

Last month, MacLennan stepped down as chief executive of the publisher, the Telegraph Media Group, after 13 years. He is now the deputy chairman.

He was replaced by Nick Hugh, the former European vice-president of Yahoo, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise at the Telegraph since being appointed chief operating officer in October.

Since his appointment Hugh has shaken things up. That included pulling the Telegraph out of talks to form a joint venture sales operation with News UK, which owns the Sun and Times, and the Guardian and Observer.

A spokeswoman for the Telegraph said: “Coulson Chappell were engaged earlier this year on a project basis to help us develop a communications strategic plan, which they have delivered. We are now reviewing our external PR needs.”

The Telegraph’s review of its PR arrangements extends to Pitch, the agency run by Coulson’s partner Henry Chappell, a former director of Matthew Freud’s agency.

Coulson shares the Soho offices used by Pitch, primarily a sports PR agency, which picked up Telegraph PR business from Good Relations in March.

Coulson’s new firm was set up on 11 January 2016, 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.

Coulson Chappell and Pitch are run separately but at launch said “synergies between [them] will be sought”.

Robert Bridge, a former vice president of international marketing at Yahoo who became the Telegraph’s first chief customer officer last year, is understood to have been instrumental in shaking up the PR arrangements at the paper.

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Mark Sweney and Roy Greenslade

The GuardianTramp

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