David McDonough - Spear's Magazine

David McDonough

Norris McDonough

David McDonough
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A veteran of the highways and byways of influence for more than four decades, David McDonough OBE is a trusted adviser to UHNWs, corporations and high-flying executives – not to mention ‘a head of state, as I still do’. He founded his own firm in 1980 after his first post-Oxford job – acting as chief of staff to Basil (now Lord) Feldman, including writing briefings for Mrs Thatcher. The business has seen several iterations since, the current being his LLP with Steven Norris. There’s no third-party involvement, junior consultants or others with McDonough – and that’s how he likes it. Clients (‘people who actually want a friend, an ally, a second opinion and a reflective view’) come and sit with him at his Westminster HQ, fused to the Abbey’s flank. As McDonough says, ‘This is more a consulting room than an office.’ ‘The market for high-level strategic and navigational advice for successful and ambitious people remains very buoyant,’ he says. ‘What was once described as a young man’s game is increasingly about the application of the wisdom and experience of those of us who have been around for a long time.’ McDonough notes the extent to which clients and peers have been ‘strangely affected’ by global uncertainty, and a growing scepticism about the communications industry: ‘It’s making people think twice – the production-belt standard of advice is no longer acceptable.’