Hanover forced to fight for Airbus UK public affairs account
Charles Lewington's lobbying agency has triumphed in a major pitch battle.
Hanover has had to endure a gruelling competitive pitch to keep hold of one of its major public affairs clients after Airbus placed the agency on alert.
Charles Lewington’s firm picked up the big-money account with Airbus in 2012, displacing incumbent firm Good Relations. Since then Hanover has been tasked with working across the EADS group (Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian, Eurocopter and Innovation Works) to enhance its reputation and strategic positioning with political stakeholders in the UK.
But Hanover faced a statutory repitch process in late 2017 following five years with Airbus.
“After a very strong and competitive pitch process we are pleased to reappoint the team at Hanover… as our retained public affairs advisors and look forward to continuing to work with them for years to come,” said Katherine Bennett, senior vice president at Airbus, in a statement this week.
Hanover founder and chief executive Charles Lewington said: “We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Airbus after five years and a competitive pitch process. Long-term client relationships have underpinned Hanover’s growth and helped our high-flying consultants to develop deep sector knowledge in areas like aerospace and defence. It has been a pleasure to advise a flagship British business like Airbus over these past five years, and we look forward to continuing to support Katherine and the team into 2018.”
The conclusion of the pitch process comes as Airbus prepares for “a generational shift in its executive ranks this year after a turbulent 2017”, according to the Financial Times. In the coming year, the firm is also set to explore new markets with prototypes for futuristic flying taxis.
It also coincides with Hanover introducing a new management team for its London public affairs operation, headed by long-serving consultant Katie Blower. The shake-up also saw former Conservative special adviser Daniel Gilbert and creative industries specialist Rosie Luff becoming directors in the 30-strong public affairs practice. Gilbert will now lead the Airbus account for Hanover.
Hanover also hired account director Kelly Thomas from aerospace and defence trade association ADS in 2017.