London, 13 June 2017: Four Communications Group has appointed Alex Knight as its first chief operating officer. Alex joins the business immediately and will sit on both the agency’s group and operating boards and will report to group chief executive Nan Williams.
Alex, a chartered accountant with 15 years of experience within the communications and digital sector, joins from The Unlimited Group (previously Creston plc) where he has held various positions since 2005. Most recently he was chief operating officer and chief finance officer, Insight at ICM Research, Marketing Sciences and ICM Direct and before that he was the group’s director of finance. As a result Alex has a wealth of experience at both a corporate and operating agency level. He has worked on a number of high profile acquisitions in the UK and US and has extensive experience of corporate financing and investor relations. At ICM Alex also supported the launch of a number of new digitally-led client products and has supported client teams across a broad range of sectors including financial services, technology, retail, FMCG and the public sector.
At Four Alex will be responsible for the overall commercial and financial direction of the Group. He will lead a number of strategic projects for the agency focussed on client and supplier relationships, M&A, governance, productisation and pricing.
Nan Williams, group chief executive said:
“This is a significant hire for Four and we are thrilled to have Alex join us. Over the last ten years we have grown at an incredible rate both organically and through acquisition. It is now the time to bring a chief operating officer on board to help us on a strategic level in the next phase of our journey. Alex’s experience is a perfect fit as we focus on our integrated offer, new product development and developing deeper relationships with both clients and suppliers. ”
“After 12 years at the Unlimited Group I was looking for a special and different opportunity. The chance to join the entrepreneurial management team at Four was one that I leapt at. The growth and development of the agency has been phenomenal and I am also impressed with the ambition for the next phase. I am looking forward to working closely with Nan and the team and contributing on a strategic level to the future of the agency.”
This appointment comes on the back of another record year for Four and sustained growth over a number a years. In 2016 the group billed fee income in excess of £26 million compared with £21 million in the previous year – growth of 26%. Profit (EBITDA) grew by 32% from £4.6 million in 2015 to £6.1 million in 2016. In 2015 Four secured £10 million investment from BGF (Business Growth Fund), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses, and an additional debt facility from HSBC. Four has acquired 12 agencies in total and a number in the last 12 months including healthcare business, Packer Forbes; retail specialists Rain Communications, public affairs specialists, Insight Consulting Group and social media marketing and insights agency, Legend Engage.
Four has recently been named no. 12 in PRWeek’s Top 150 UK PR Consultancies Rankings for 2017, up three places on its 2016 ranking and one of the fastest growing businesses in the rankings.
Four has also been ranked as no. 1 in UK Public Affairs, no. 2 in UK Public Sector, no. 4 in UK Independents, no. 5 in UK Healthcare, no. 5 in UK Consumer, no. 10 in Middle East View and no. 45 worldwide.