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James Kelliher, Chief Executive Officer at Whiteoaks International on the PRmoment Podcast

This week on the PRmoment Podcast I’m talking to James Kelliher, chief executive officer at Whiteoaks International.

Whiteoaks is a 40 person tech PR agency based in Hook, Hampshire. It has a fee income of approximately £4m.

Here’s a flavour of what James and I discussed:

1.30 mins How James has spent pretty much his whole career at Whiteoaks - he joined as an account exec and he’s now the CEO and majority shareholder.

4.46 mins Did James ever get close to leaving Whiteoaks?

7.00 mins How the buy out of Whiteoaks from the founders Bill Nichols and Jill Craig was a two stage process.

12.05 mins Why PR firms can grow too quickly, controlled low double digit growth is James’ recommendation!

14.05 mins James became the MD of Whiteoaks aged only 29. Did that create any challenges?

15.45 mins Why Whiteoaks doesn’t believe retainers offer good value for clients.

16.15 mins How Whiteoaks links its project fees to performance targets through a service level agreement - and sometimes refunds fees to clients!

21.30 mins James says that If PR wants access to bigger budgets, “to have a seat at the top table it must be more accountable.”

24.30 mins Does the payment by results model change the behavior of Whiteoaks as a business and the type of people it employees?

26 mins What is it about Bracknell, Reading, Basingstoke - the Thames Valley Corridor that attracts so many tech businesses?

28.20 mins Does James think Whitoaks would be a bigger business today if it was based in London?

30 mins James talks us through how Whiteoaks’ international group of independent agencies works.

34 mins James talks about how challenging the Covid period has been for Whiteoaks and its people. James predicts that the business will be down 15%-20% this year.

Please note this interview was conducted before the UK Government’s announcement encouraging businesses to revert to working from home.

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