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PR boss leads management buyout after chairman resigns over social media post

Gordon Beattie resigned after he published a post saying the firm does not hire ‘blacks, gays or Catholics’.

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Laurna Woods is to lead a management buyout of Beattie Communications (Beattie Communications/PA)

Laurna Woods is to lead a management buyout of Beattie Communications (Beattie Communications/PA)

Laurna Woods is to lead a management buyout of Beattie Communications (Beattie Communications/PA)

The chief executive of a PR firm whose chairman resigned over a “tone deaf” social media post is to lead a management buyout of the agency.

Gordon Beattie stood down from his role at Beattie Communications after he wrote a LinkedIn post where he said that the company does not hire “blacks, gays or Catholics”.

He added that the company only takes on “talented people” and does not care about their skin colour, sexual orientation or religion.

Laurna Woods, chief executive of Beattie Communications, is now leading a management buyout (MBO) of the agency.

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Gordon Beattie wished the management team every success (Beattie Communications/PA)

Gordon Beattie wished the management team every success (Beattie Communications/PA)

PA

Gordon Beattie wished the management team every success (Beattie Communications/PA)

Mr Beattie will not have any involvement in the new business and the consultancy will rebrand and change its name in the near future.

Ms Woods said: “There have been discussions about an MBO for some time and today marks the start of a new chapter for our people and our clients.

“I will be dedicating all my efforts into building a dynamic new agency that is leading in every respect, from the services we provide to the culture we live by.

“We are fully committed to becoming game-changers in the creative industry and an employer that continues to be equal to all. This will be felt through every touchpoint in our business – from the work we produce to the talent we recruit.

“This buyout will secure the success of a thriving, client-focused business. Our new journey starts here.”

She would not disclose the price she and her team of Elspeth Brown, Joanne Spence, Rachel Gladwin and Chris Gilmour will pay for the agency.

The buyout will see Ms Woods and her leadership team take over London-headquartered Beattie Communications which includes offices in Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Belfast.

Mr Beattie founded the agency 40 years ago in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, before expanding it across the UK.

Beattie Communications announced on Wednesday that he was resigning from his position as chairman as a consequence of a “tone deaf” social media post.

Mr Beattie said: “I wish the management team every success with the business while I focus on my wider interests.”

In the LinkedIn post Mr Beattie wrote: “At Beattie Communications we don’t hire blacks, gays or Catholics.”

He wrote that companies should only hire people for their “talent, experience, knowledge and wisdom” and added: “We hire people we like, trust and admire and recruit people who have the potential to be better than us.”

Mr Beattie said he issued the LinkedIn post with the best of intent but accepted that the language was “inappropriate” and said he was “truly sorry” for the offence caused.

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