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New COC Master

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

The Company of Communicators enters its 20th year with a new Master, a new line-up of Wardens and new Freemen.

Deborah Oliver takes over the helm as the 20th Master, following a successful term by Sarah Wait, which involved membership increasing by 40% despite the sector’s difficulties during the pandemic.

Oliver, Director Mackintosh Oliver Ltd, stepped down from her role as Director Engagement and Communications at the British Medical Association this summer to focus on her year as Master.

The new Master Communicator Deborah Oliver said:

“As a Millennium Founder Member of the Company, I am very proud to follow in the footsteps of the previous 19 Masters as we enter our twentieth year. There is a real forward momentum as we prepare to become a Worshipful Company. These are challenging times for the communications profession and for the organisations supporting and supplying it. 2020 has shown the fortitude and creativity of communicators across all sectors. We will continue toexpand our membership to bring a broad and diverse set of perspectives and to encourage the fellowship and contribution to society which are at the core of the Company.”

The new Court now comprises:

Deputy Master (and Past Master), Sarah Wait, Director of Forward Planning Services at Kantar, Media Division

Senior Warden, James Gurling OBE, Managing Director at MHP Communications

Middle Warden, Mark Glover, Chief Executive, Newington Communications and Executive Director, SECNewgate

Junior Warden, Neil Griffiths, Global Head of DE&I at Environmental Resources Management

Renter Warden (Treasurer), Sally Sykes, Director of Communications and Engagement at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Past President CIPR

Court Assistants: Sean Curtis-Ward, Anne Donoghue, Matt Fincham, Sarah Jurado, Shraddha Kaul, Dan Large, Jeremy Mooney, Helen Moore, Rosie Stone, Richard Walsh, Matthew West

Clerk, Lady Hilliard

The Master’s Consort is Tricia Topping, Director Carlyle Consultants and Founder of Luxury Topping.

In her last act as Company of Communicators Master, Sarah Wait welcomed ten new Freemen at a virtual ceremony on today (Monday) :

· Mike Browne, Director How-Now Communications and Board Member, Chartered Institute of Public Relations

· Arnold Craven, External Affairs Manager at Cadent Gas Ltd

· Catherine Grinyer, Co-Founder and Director of Attendable and Director of Big Voice communications

· Peter John OBE, Councillor for Champion Hill; Leader, Southwark Council 2010-20

· Peter Kerridge, CEO Premier Christian Communications

· Major General Neil Sexton, Director Engagement & Communications for the British Army

· Matthew Silver, Corporate Reputation Adviser at Babel PR

· Mark Twigg, Executive Director, Cicero/AMO

· Lieutenant Colonel Lesley Wilde, Managing Director, Wilde Thing Strategic PR & Events

· Lesley Woods, Chief Communications Officer, Ministry of Defence.

Additionally, a former Freeman has re-joined the Company: Lis Lewis-Jones, Chief Executive of Liquid PR and Past President of the CIPR

“I am delighted to welcome these new Freemen to our Company,” said Wait. “I am equally pleased that Lis has returned to support us going forward.

“Our focus is to promote the profession, to be active within The City Livery movement, to raise funds for our charitable trust and to enjoy a wide range of events. We are also actively striving to embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion within the Company – and to encourage it across the Livery movement.”


Press contact:

Andy Sillett



Notes for Editors:

The Company of Communicators is part of the ‘Livery’ - the City of London’s trades associations and Guilds. The Company is a modern Livery Company, promoting the communications profession and contributing to society through volunteering and raising funds for the Charitable Trust.

The Company is managed by a Court of Assistants (the Court), led by the Master, who is supported by three Wardens. The Master is elected annually, serves for one year and then often takes the role of Deputy Master for another year. The Court meets at least four times a year to discuss Company matters including fundraising activities, events and other activities.

The Company has over 140 Freemen (members) and is seeking to raise funds for its Charitable Trust as part of the communications industry’s drive to equal other ancient and modern trades and professions in the City of London by gaining full Livery Company status.

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