Nicola Howson - Spear's Magazine

Nicola Howson

Portland Communications

Nicola Howson
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Top Ten Reputation Managers

Nicola Howson struck out on her own in 2014 after time served as ITV communications director and freuds’ chief executive. She has been advising corporations and high-profile individuals – including Kevin Spacey for the past 15 years – on their reputations. ‘I’ve always believed that, in the end, we always get the reputations we deserve,’ she told Spear’s a year ago. Offering her thoughts on the ‘stark’ differences between now and her early career, she said: ‘What’s changed is the pace… it used to be that you didn’t relax until 6pm on a Saturday, because only then did you know your client wasn’t on the front page of a newspaper.’ Social media has transformed all that: ‘It’s impossible now to take a path that is anything other than transparent,’ she says. Howson founded freuds’ corporate practice before being made CEO of the agency in 2010. In March 2018 she joined Portland on a consultancy basis in the role of senior adviser. She told a PR industry platform at the time: ‘The agency has an impressive client base and a great roster of talent, and I am delighted to be working with the senior team as the business continues to evolve.’ Her new clients at Portland are reported to include the likes of Aviva, BAE Systems, Visa, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Novartis Foundation, EDF Energy and Uber.33