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The Magnificent Seven

The Company of Communicators Master James Gurling welcomed seven new Freemen at a ceremony at the Guildhall on Tuesday (Nov 23)

They are:

Matt Tee, Executive Director Integration at NHS

Matt was Permanent Secretary for Government Communications under both Gordon Brown and David Cameron, following senior roles at the Department of Health and DTI. In addition to Government posts, he has been Director of Communications at the NHS inspectorate and the country's largest NHS trust. He also held chief executive roles with a significant communications element, most notably at IPSO the newspaper and magazine regulator.

Stephen Doherty, Group Chief Brand and Corporate Affairs Officer, Aviva

A member of the Group Executive Committee, Stephen is responsible for Aviva’s Brand, Communications, Corporate Responsibility, Public Policy, and Sustainability agendas. Prior to joining Aviva, Stephen was Group Head of Corporate Relations at Barclays, overseeing Communications, Brand, Sponsorship, Government Relations, ESG, and Citizenship. Stephen’s early career was in politics, working for a UK Labour MP, followed by nearly 10 years in senior roles at three of the world’s leading communications consultancies, before a more than five-year period as Director of Communications for the premium drinks company Diageo.

Melanie Featherstone Western Europe MCS Communications at Microsoft

Melanie started her career in communications at Oracle UK before moving to Vodafone UK and King. She then moved to Dubai as Director of Corporate Communications for the luxury hotel chain, Jumeirah. Melanie’s latest role is partnering with the GM of the Western Europe Consulting business at Microsoft.

Markus Leutert, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Ivalua

A Swiss national based in the UK, Markus has recently took on a new role at Ivalua, a fast-growing Franco-American fintech unicorn to help scale the global reputation of this Gartner Magic Quadrant leader in spend-management. Markus has previously held senior corporate affairs and marketing communications roles, both agency-side and in-house, for a variety of sectors. He has developed and delivered award winning internal change and external brand and lead-generation campaigns for leading B2B, B2G and B2B2C brands globally, including DHL, Starbucks, P&G, Serono, Thales, WalgreensBootsAlliance, Embraer and AKKA Technologies.

Alison Esse, Co-founder and Director, The Storytellers

Alison began her career in PR, working for one of the top five PR agencies in London – Paragon Communications – on FMCG accounts including Woolworths and Mars. A chance meeting propelled her into the role of Communications Director for one of the country’s leading show production companies, before co-founding The Storytellers over 18 years ago. This innovative and unique consultancy was the first ever to develop a creative, tangible storytelling approach as an essential leadership and engagement tool for some of the largest, most complex organisations in the world undergoing change and transformation.

Bhavika Popat, Account Executive at WA Communications

After graduating with a Law degree Bhav has supported the Strategic Communications team in delivering programs to clients across a range of sectors, with a primary focus on infrastructure. Prior to joining WA Bhav worked in Parliament managing communications, campaigns, and stakeholder engagement for an MP, ran and led successful target General Election campaigns for the Conservative Party.

Philip Briscoe, MD, Advocacy at SEC Newgate UK

Philip Briscoe has worked in political and planning communications consultancy for the last 20 years, including as a founder director of Bellenden. Prior to this, he worked around the country on political campaigns and advising local authorities and was a councillor in Tower Hamlets. Phil has also been part of the UKTI Catalyst programme, supporting UK export initiatives.

This further boost in membership puts the Company firmly on course for achieving Worshipful Status in the City of London's livery movement.

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