It’s our people that make us stand out
From the beginning, Portland set itself the goal of bringing together the very best in the fields of politics, the media, government and consultancy.
We understand integration is the key to succeed and have recruited the most talented specialists from the consultancy and advisory world, and multi-lingual executives from the most prestigious institutions worldwide, to bring in a new layer of professionals.
Alongside our research, creative, digital designers, strategists, content and brand experts, we are confident that at Portland we are best placed to help clients achieve their objectives.
Our clients also benefit from the insight and experience of our Advisory Council who work with our senior management team — overseeing all aspects of our strategy and challenging us to ensure that we provide the best possible service to our clients, now and in the future.Interested in Joining Us?
Gérard Araud, a career diplomat, retired in April 2019 from the French foreign service as Ambassador of France to the U.S. (2014-2019) and Permanent Representative of France to the U.N. in New York (2009-2014). He previously held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, notably Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament (2000-2003), Ambassador of France to Israel (2003-2006), Director General for Political Affairs and Security (2006-2009), He has reached the highest rank in the French diplomatic service (‘’Ambassadeur de France’’).
Over the course of his career, Gérard has developed specialized knowledge in two key areas: Middle East and strategic & security issues. He was the French negotiator on the Iranian nuclear issue from 2006 to 2009.
He is trustee of the International Crisis Group and Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Atlantic Council in Washington DC. He is a columnist for the French weekly ‘’Le Point’’, for the National French Radio ‘’France Inter’’ and has frequently being interviewed as an foreign affairs expert by French and international media (CNN International, the BBC and other English speaking TV and radios).
Alastair, who was Tony Blair’s long-time Press Secretary and senior advisor, is one of the country’s foremost experts on leadership, communications and strategy.
A leading national newspaper journalist before he joined Mr Blair’s team on his election as Labour leader in 1994, he remained at his side for almost a decade.
He is credited with helping create New Labour and delivering two landslide election victories.
As the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary and later Director of Communications and Strategy, he was responsible for modernising the Government’s communications structures and approach.
He was involved in every area of policy, travelled extensively with Mr Blair and established close relations with many world leaders.
Since leaving Government, he has forged a successful career as an author, broadcaster, public speaker and advisor to senior business figures on leadership and strategy.
His accounts of his period with Mr Blair, recorded in his diaries, have been both best-sellers and critically acclaimed.
He has also found time to raise money and awareness for leukaemia and mental health charities as well as the Labour Party.
A passionate supporter of Burnley F.C., Alastair has advised athletes, sports organisations and clubs around the world on their communications strategies and reputation management.
Alastair joined Portland in May 2012 in a senior part-time role.
David Davies has worked at the very top level of Sport and Media Communications for a generation. As a BBC Television Correspondent/Presenter for more than 20 years, uniquely he reported on General Elections and World Cups.
As Executive Director of The Football Association, he worked closely with four England football managers over thirteen often turbulent years. Since 2006, he has been employed at home and abroad at senior levels in industry as well as sport in the Middle East, North America and Africa. He believes passionately in sport as a power for good at all levels of society. During his time at The FA, he was a founder member of football’s anti -racism “Kick It Out” campaign.
David Davies, on behalf of football, was one of a small group of sports leaders who launched London’s Bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Mark Flanagan was Chief Executive of Portland from 2020 to 2022 and has worked in the media and communications throughout his career. He joined Portland in 2010 and, for many years, led the agency’s digital, content and research capabilities. Mark became UK Managing Director in 2016 before taking over as global CEO in January 2020. During his time at Portland, Mark has advised a range of senior leaders in business and government on communications strategies.
Previously, Mark was head of strategic communications at 10 Downing Street, working for the Labour and Coalition Governments. He began his career in radio and was Managing Director of LBC from 2002 – 2005.
Over 26 years of experience in corporate affairs across a wide range of sectors advising organisations on their strategic communications with influential stakeholders. A trusted adviser to corporate leaders with significant expertise in political, corporate, financial, internal, digital and ESG strategies, reputation and brand management, message development, thought leadership, and crisis communications.
Sophie has advised on M&A, demergers, IPO’s, restructurings, change programmes, sustainability plans, developing and executing reputational corporate & political campaigns. She has helped to develop and drive strategic reviews, recovery plans, responsible business ambitions, reputation measurement, political and evolutionary strategies. Sophie is experienced in managing global teams and working cross-functionally.
William Gaillard was Senior Advisor to the President of UEFA, Michel Platini, from 2009 to 2015, having previously acted as Director of Communications and Public Affairs from 2003. During his tenure, he oversaw all external communications and media activities and managed a variety of political issues. At UEFA, William headed social responsibility initiatives and efforts towards the eradication of racism and all discriminations in football.
William Gaillard brings over 20 years of experience in the sports sector across Europe, The Middle East and the United States. He joins Portland from Burson Cohn and Wolfe Brussels where he advised clients on all aspects of sports strategic communications. He was also Senior Advisor to the President of The International Centre for Sport Security (Doha) until 2016.
William is currently on the Executive Board of FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) and the Advisory Board of Supporters Direct Europe. He started his career as a university professor in the United States and went on to occupy a number of top management positions in public affairs, external relations and communications at the European Commission, the United Nations and the International Air Transport Association where he founded and led on crisis communications.
Yannick Le Bourdonnec
Yannick is an expert in strategic communication and media relations.
Formerly, chief editor of French leading business daily Enjeux Les Echos and director of the Nouvel Economiste, Yannick is a well-known media figure in France.
After two decades working as a journalist, he joined global communication consultancy Publicis Consultants in 2004 as a partner, where he specialised in crisis communications. In 2007 he became senior vice-president of Publicis consultants while overseeing the management of its content creation/publishing subsidiary agency Verbe.
In 2009, he founded and chaired YLB Conseil, a strategic communication boutique agency. He notably ran media strategy campaigns for international corporations such as L’Oreal, Veolia Environnement, Eiffage, the gourmet food company Fauchon, the restaurant conglomerate Groupe Le Duff or the French association for pensions AFER.
Yannick graduated from Science Po Paris, he is fluent in FR & ENG.
Senior Political Advisor, Berlin
Elisabeth Motschmann joined Portland’s Berlin office as a Senior Policy Advisor in June 2022. Before that, she was a member of the German Bundestag for eight years, holding positions on the Foreign Affairs Committee, in the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly, and as media and culture policy spokesperson for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. From 2012-2021, she was on the CDU’s Federal Executive Board.
Prior to her years in Berlin, Elisabeth was politically active at state level: She was a member of the Bremen State Parliament for 16 years and during this time served as Deputy Chair of the CDU parliamentary group. For 22 years, she was the Deputy Chair the CDU Bremen. From 1999 on, she held the office of State Councillor for Culture in Bremen for eight years. She also was State Councillor for Sport for four years. In addition, she chaired the Women’s Union of the CDU Bremen for ten years until 2022.
Elisabeth published several books on women and family policy issues. During her political career, she also wrote extensive reports on child poverty in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, and India. In 2018, her book “Female Diplomacy: Women in Foreign Policy” was published.
She also brings vast experience in the media world, having worked as a journalist for the Axel Springer publishing house and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) as well as a longstanding member of the Broadcasting Council of Radio Bremen. She presently is a member of the Broadcasting Council of Deutsche Welle.
David is a leader and expert in reputation management and communications.
Prior to joining Portland, he was UK & Ireland Communications Director, member of the UK Leadership Team and LGBTQ+ lead at Tesco. There he helped steer the UK’s largest supermarket through the second half of its turnaround and the pandemic. He was responsible for significant community programmes and charity partnerships; change management; internal communications; addressing countless issues and using proactive and reactive comms to demonstrate business purpose and build trust, inside and outside company.
Before Tesco, he was Group Head of Communications at Monarch Airlines, leading all aspects of internal and external communications and ultimately handling the airline’s move into administration. He has previously worked as a Director at freuds and Burson-Marsteller (prior to becoming BCW).
Senior Policy Advisor
Jonathan is a leading practitioner in cloud and cybersecurity policy. Until recently he led IBM’s cloud computing and cyber security in the EU, developing IBM’s response to EU cyber security regulatory interventions, such as the NIS 2.0 Directive and the Cyber Security Act. He has been closely involved in GDPR implementation and related Data Protection measures such as Codes of Conduct and is currently chair of the leading GDPR compliance mechanism under GDPR, the EU Cloud Code of Conduct.
He was the advocacy and communications lead in the Charter of Trust for Cybersecurity, for the leading global initiative on building digital trust which industry co-founded in 2018. Other areas of expertise where Jonathan has played a leading role in formulating public policy strategies with a proven track record are Artificial Intelligence, Intellectual Property, Competition policy and technical standards.
Jonathan holds a degree in modern languages from the University of Oxford and an MBA from Henley Business School, UK. He is a fluent German and French speaker and has worked in Germany, Austria France and Belgium as well as the UK.
With nearly 40 years of experience, Michael is an expert in EU affairs and in particular areas where the European Union has extensive powers, such as competition, the internal market, transport, or consumer protection.
Michael arrived in Brussels with a degree from the prestigious College of Europe, starting out as a journalist covering EU policy. Later he became an official at the European Commission and, for five years, at the Council of the EU where he worked in media relations but also on tourism and consumer matters. His career as a civil servant culminated in a 3-year stint as spokesperson for Competition Commissioner Mario Monti.
In 2002 Michael joined the bourgeoning EU lobbying and communications agency GPLUS as a Partner. He remained in that function throughout the company’s spectacular period of growth and until its merger with sister agency Portland in 2020. Since then, he is a part-time advisor.