Forster Communications has appointed John Grounds as its new chair, replacing founder Jilly Forster, who launched the agency 20 years ago. Forster will take on a new role to provide strategic advice to the agency board.
Previously a non-exec board director at Forster, Grounds has spent 25 years working with several leading not for profit, public and private sector organisations in the UK.
He is the former deputy chief executive and director of marketing and campaigns of the RSPCA. Before that, he established the NSPCC’s child protection consultancy between 2009 and 2012.
From 2002 to 2009, Grounds was director of comms for the NSPCC, where he was responsible for leading and coordinating the public face of its FULL STOP campaign.
Jilly Forster will take on a new role to provide strategic advice to the agency’s board and continue to be chair of shareholders for the employee-owned business and founding UK B Corp.
Grounds said: “It’s a tremendous privilege to be chair and a huge responsibility to be succeeding Jilly Forster, the architect and inspiration of this remarkable agency.
“In the last 18 months as a non-executive director I’ve seen at first hand the depth of experience, skill and passion for social change that runs through everyone who works here. The quality of work and the mutual respect between client and agency is extraordinary.”
He added: “I’ve spent my whole career working for organisations committed to social change and could not be more convinced that in these challenging times, Forster and its clients have a more crucial role to play than ever.”
Alongside Grounds’ appointment, Forster has promoted two of its senior team, Gillian Daines and George Ames, to board director level, where they join PR director Peter Gilheany and CEO Amanda Powell Smith. Ames will lead on client services while Daines will lead on innovation within the agency.
Powell-Smith commented: “This is a fantastic next step in our mission to harness the power of communications to protect and improve lives. Bringing John, Gill and George onto the board will help us make an even bigger splash in terms of social impact.
“We have been exclusively focused on driving social change since we were founded by Jilly 20 years ago, and continue to work with progressive leaders from across all the sectors.
“There’s real momentum building behind the desire for businesses to be deliver more social impact and last year we became a founding UK B Corp. I believe the new board will ensure that we can help even more organisations create meaningful value for themselves, their stakeholders and wider society.”