New chief executive to lead communications agency Freshwater

The parent company of the award-winning communications agency, Freshwater, has appointed a new chief executive to implement its growth strategy, following a successful management buy-out.

Existing group managing director, Angharad Neagle, will become the new chief executive of both the parent company, Raglan House Holdings, and wholly owned subsidiary, Freshwater UK. She succeeds John Underwood, who remains on the board.

Ms Neagle, 43, joined Freshwater in February 2008, after working in communications roles with the police, local government and in other PR and marketing agencies. She became director of Freshwater’s creative division in 2009 before being appointed group managing director in 2013 and joining the board in 2014. In addition to driving Freshwater’s daily operations for the past six years, Ms Neagle has provided strategic counsel to some of the firm’s major clients.

Neagle and Underwood along with fellow Freshwater directors David Howell, Haydn Evans, Aled Edwards and founder Steve Howell formed Raglan House Holdings to deliver a £2.6m buy-out of institutional and private shareholders who had invested after the company listed on AIM in 2007. Raglan House is 70% owned by Freshwater directors and employees, with the balance being held mainly by former directors, the Development Bank for Wales and Welsh private equity firm, Criseren.

Raglan House chair, David Howell, said: “The appointment of Angharad is part of a long-standing succession strategy. She’s done a great job as group managing director and will now have a wider remit as we implement our new growth strategy, which includes selective acquisitions to enhance both our sectoral strengths and our capabilities in areas such as digital, data, insight and evaluation.

“Angharad knows the communications industry inside out and has reshaped Freshwater to keep us at the forefront of a fast-changing media environment, winning big awards along the way. She’s the natural choice to lead us through another exciting period of growth.

“I’d like to thank John for his outstanding contribution to the business, both as the board director leading our healthcare team and, over the last two and a half years, as chief executive. John is an incredible operator, and I’m pleased that we will continue to benefit from his energy and expertise, focusing on a number of new projects as a board member.”

Commenting on her appointment, Angharad Neagle said: “I’m excited to be leading the business through its next stage of growth. The communication industry is constantly evolving, something that has intensified in recent years. Freshwater has been at the forefront of these changes, motivated by our passion to deliver excellence and achieve results that matter to our clients.

“It’s this commitment that has seen us build strong relationships with clients, most of whom have been with us many years. And it’s thanks to our talented team that Freshwater continues to flourish and go from strength-to-strength.”

John Underwood said: “I’m delighted to be remaining on the board to support Angharad, continue to build Freshwater’s specialist healthcare division and explore some innovative opportunities to diversify the traditional agency model.”