News: Rachel Friend joins Harvard as executive chair – marking changes in leadership to drive next stage of growth for the award-winning tech agency

Technology marketing and PR agency, Harvard, part of VCCP Business, has this week announced the appointment of Rachel Friend, previously CEO of Weber Shandwick and W Communications, in the newly-established role of executive chair. 

Rachel will work closely with Lorna Hughes, MD of Harvard PR & AR, George Greenspan, MD of consumer sister agency Eat the Fox, and Andrew Last, MD of Harvard Marketing, to drive the business through its next stage of growth. 

The move comes as current CEO, Ellie Thompson; Chairperson, Louie St Claire; and Group Strategy Director, Pete Marcus exit the business to set up their own consultancy, having worked at the agency for over a decade.

Rachel will report to Jo Parker, Group CEO, VCCP Business, and Group COO of VCCP.

Jo said: “We thank Ellie, Louie and Pete for all they have done for Harvard. I have loved working with them and wish them all the very best for their new venture. Rachel joins at an exciting period for the business with the development of a global proposition with sister tech agencies Method and Sling & Stone - who together already share 14 clients - as well as continuing to build its integrated offer, with a real focus on creativity for clients.

‘Rachel is a perfect fit, as she brings 25+ years of experience across integrated PR and marketing, global award-winning work including Cannes Lions Awards, PRWeek Global and UK Campaigns of the Year and EMEA SABRE Campaigns of the Year, as well as expertise in global leadership. We are delighted she is joining the team.”
Rachel will take on the role with immediate effect, initially working alongside Ellie in a handover period until the end of February.  

“I’m hugely excited to be joining Harvard,” said Rachel. “The agency is respected across the industry not only for its award-winning work, but also its culture and dedication to areas like Learning & Development and DE&I. My goal is to build on this impressive foundation, to help the agency take our client offering to the next level.’

‘I have a brilliant team around me – in the three MDs, the wider Board and SLT and equally importantly, the entire agency who deliver such impactful work,” she added “I can’t wait to get started and be part of such an impressive agency.”

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