Andy Coulson has set himself up as an independent freelance consultant offering communications advice and has just won approval for his first client, a global conference for young future world leaders.
Mr Coulson, former director of communications at 10 Downing Street (pictured back left) resigned in January after the furore caused by allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World, which he previously edited. He has always denied knowledge of hacking under his watch, although he resigned as editor in 2007 when one of his journalists and a private detective were jailed for intercepting voicemails.
His new role was confirmed by Kate Robertson, the co-founder of “One Young World“, who is also UK group chairman of Euro RSCG Worldwide, part of the French marketing group Havas.
Ms Robertson told me she met the former spin-doctor after the Conservatives hired her company in 2007 ahead of the “election that never was”.
She said that Mr Coulson would only be working on a paid ad hoc basis for One Young World and not doing any commercial work for Havas. “I just thought he was an absolutely brilliant guy to work with, notwithstanding his current circumstances, a bright and talented individual, and he was very supportive of One Young World.”
OYW held an event a year ago in London, at Billingsgate Market and the ExCel Centre, and will host its next such gathering in September in Zurich with close to 1,000 expected to attend. The conference is intended as a networking event for ambitious under-25s.
David Jones, who co-founded of One Young World, is chief executive of Havas and also worked closely with the Tories from 2007 until last summer’s election.
Ms Robertson denied she had given the job to Coulson as a favour to a friend – or that the appointment was risky for her venture’s reputation: “I thought about it long and hard, I really have, and I just really felt it is not for me to judge, and I do want all the help I can get.”
Coulson is barred from doing government-related work for a year and can’t lobby ministers or special advisers for two years, according to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.