Hammonds loses media chief to Howard Kennedy

Hammond Suddards is losing the founder and head of its media department to Howard Kennedy.

Partner Brian Eagles is moving next month to establish a media department at his new firm. He will head it up with Mark Westaway who currently runs his own one-man media practice.

Two Howard Kennedy partners will change departments to help run the unit. They are asset finance and media projects partner Keith Lassman, and IP/IT partner John Fleming. Eagles says he will hire five assistants once it is established in October.

Eagles has a penchant for setting up media departments in different firms. He founded SJ Berwin's in 1988, and then moved to Hammonds in 1994 and did the same.

A spokesman for Hammonds says Eagles is leaving because he is at retirement age. He says: “Brian was due to retire. He is going to another firm because he is 60-years-old. He is leaving Hammonds by mutual agreement.”

But Eagles disagrees. He says: “This is very much a partner hire. I was headhunted. I could have continued at Hammonds.”

And he says his clients are likely to move with him: “I have had clients for so many years now that I would be surprised if they did not follow me. Almost all of them will.”

Eagles says his decision to leave Hammonds was encouraged by the type of legal film work that Howard Kennedy does. He says: “I have been given the opportunity to get into film finance structuring, which I would not have been able to do before.”

Lassman says: “We are delighted to have been able to recruit to the partnership a person of Brian's experience.”