Paver Smith

Paver Smith founders bow out with unit sale

The founders of the Paver Smith public relations agency have bowed out with the sale of its specialist pre-planning communications unit to Curtins Consulting for an undisclosed sum.

Paver Smith is retaining the name of the unit, Consultation Works, although its client relationships have moved to Curtins along with departing directors and shareholders Dougal Paver and Rachel Smith.

Paver and Smith will become directors at Curtins, where they will develop the national engineering consultancy's planning advisory services. They will cease to be shareholders in Paver Smith.

Paver and Smith had been concentrating on growing Consultation Works in recent months.

Sarah Whaites, who also worked with Consultation Works in London, has now left the company.

Agreement has been reached for an ongoing commercial relationship which will see Paver Smith supply PR services to Curtins for any property projects requiring long-term PR support. The agency is known for its expertise in the property sector.

The development comes six months after the Paver Smith board instituted a strategic review of the company's service offer following the appointment of former Trinity Mirror boss Sara Wilde-McKeown as managing director and her investment in the agency.

She said that the work done by the Consultation Works unit represented around 10% of the total turnover at Paver Smith. It had relationships with around 10 clients.

As part of the changes, Paver Smith's PR Director, Chris Hulme, is to become a shareholder and board director at Paver Smith, joining fellow shareholders Ms Wilde-McKeown, Jon Brown and chairman David Heal, who grew Harrison Cowley to be the biggest independent PR business in the UK.

Curtins operates nationally from a headquarters in Liverpool with eleven offices across the country. It has seven core specialisms including the provision of expert advisory services to developers, land owners and planning consultants.

Smith and Paver will lead a new team within that specialism.

Rob Melling, chief executive of Curtins, said: "This move gives us the ability to further develop the pre-planning services we currently offer to developers, owners and planning consultants."

Dougal Paver said: "The time was right for the business to make some strategic changes. Rachel and I are pleased with the outcome and all parties are looking forward to this next phase of respective growth and development."

Paver Smith was founded in 2006. Wilde-McKeown said she wants to develop Paver Smith into a more integrated marketing agency.

Concentrating mainly on B2B and corporate PR, its clients are in the fields of property, professional services, science and regeneration. It also act for Camelot.

Paver Smith employs 16 people full-time and some freelance staff.

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