Allison+Partners hires Barbara Laidlaw as global reputation risk MD

NEW YORK: Allison+Partners has hired Barbara Laidlaw as MD of global reputation, risk, and advisory.

Laidlaw started in the role on June 11, reporting to Matthew Della Croce, partner and global president of Europe and the firm’s corporate practice. David Mclean Marriott, who passed away in April, previously led crisis work in the U.S. for Allison+Partners.

Laidlaw is responsible for overseeing the growth of the agency’s global issues management, crisis, and risk mitigation capability. It is the first time a global role has been created that handles reputation risk and advisory at the firm, said Laidlaw. The number of staffers she oversees has not been determined.

“As the agency continues to grow, there was a hole they weren’t filling for clients that encompassed their global clients’ corporate reputation, risk management issues, as well as crisis,” said Laidlaw, about why the role was created.

Laidlaw noted she “enjoys” regulatory differences in different countries and continents, and explained that Allison+Partners’ multinational clients “will be able to make use of that very quickly, instead of having to deal with different agencies in the U.K., Australia, Asia, and the U.S.”

Allison reported global revenue of $52.2 million, a 10% increase compared with 2016.

“If you look at the last year, Allison+Partners is in growth mode and has been doing quite well year-over-year, so continuing to contribute to that as well as increase it from a corporate perspective and with our global multinational clients is my biggest goal here,” said Laidlaw. 

Most recently, she served as MD of Burson-Marsteller’s corporate and financial practices, overseeing global clients and providing strategic communications advice and change management.

Earlier this year, WPP merged Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe. Laidlaw said her MD position at Burson was eliminated last fall.

Before Burson, Laidlaw was the president and owner of BEL Communications, providing strategic crisis comms counsel, corporate strategy and positioning, media training, and internal communications to international and local clients. Prior, she was an EVP and head of the crisis and issues, digital corporate, and public affairs groups at Edelman. Laidlaw was also a partner and SVP at FleishmanHillard in its corporate financial and corporate affairs practices.

Allison+Partners recently upped Jonathan Heit to global president, a position created as part of a series of shifts the agency is making to its leadership structure.

The agency also promoted Anne Colaiacovo to president of North America; Della Croce to global president of Europe and its corporate practice; and Cathy Planchard to global president of the All Told practice, a special division that combines research, content, creative, digital, and measurement offerings.

In addition, Zach Colvin, Allison’s chair of California, began leading business development and client growth. Jeremy Rosenberg was named MD of All Told for North America, and Tom Smith, was appointed MD of corporate in North America.


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