Publicist Maura Wilding is joining Orion Publishing Group to be its new communications director after nearly four years of running her own agency, Maura PR & Communications.
She replaces Helen Richardson in the role, who spent close to 20 years with the company and whose departure was announced last week.
Wilding returns to Hachette after leaving Headline eight years ago in 2011, where she notably spearheaded the campaigns for Jo Brand, Jed Rubenfeld, Rosie Goodwin, and Sarah Winman’s When God was a Rabbit (Tinder Press).
Immediately after this she was campaigns director at Riot Communications, during which time she was named one of PR Week’s 30 Under 30, a Rising Star in The Bookseller, and worked with Tom Rob Smith, Philipp Meyer, Meg Rosoff and Freya North. In addition, she also worked on The Desmond Elliott Prize, Penguin’s Dickens Bicentenary, Waterstones 11 and Waterstones Book of the Year.
Since launching Maura PR & Communications in 2015, she has gone on to deliver a number of campaigns as well as year-round brand strategy and management for Ann Cleeves, Jessie Burton, Sophie Dahl and Viv Groskop. Recent campaigns she has worked include: Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies); Juno Dawson’s Clean, and Allie Esiri’s A Poem For Everyday of the Year, for which Wilding won a PPC award in 2018.
Wilding will join Orion in April, reporting into executive publisher Sarah Benton.
Welcoming her return in house, Benton said she had long-admired Wilding's "tenacious, strategic and creative approach to publicity".
"A passionate advocate for putting PR at the heart of the business, she always goes the extra-mile to make her campaigns, and her authors, stand out," she said. "Hugely loved and respected, this is exactly the right time for her to come back in house and lead our excellent publicity team into the future."
Orion m.d. Katie Espiner said: "As our business continues to change and grow, it is vital that we challenge the way we work to ensure we are delivering the best possible experience for our authors and our readers. Maura is simply one of the most admired and respected publicity professionals in the business and I am absolutely thrilled she is joining Orion in this pivotal role."
Taking up the role means Wilding's company, Maura PR & Communications, will cease trading on 15th March 2019.
Wilding said she had not been planning on going back in-house, but the opportunity with Orion was too good to pass up. "I have loved every second of building my own agency, and have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to devise campaigns and brand development strategies for some of the best and most brilliant names in the industry. I will miss my authors and clients hugely," she said.
"Though going back in-house wasn’t something I was considering, when Sarah and Katie shared their vision for Orion’s future, I just couldn’t say no to such a wildly perfect opportunity. Orion has a dynamism and ambition that I relate to and a talented team of publicists in place that it will be a privilege to lead and work with. To be asked to do this, as well as continuing to provide stand-out campaigns for such a stellar list of authors, is a dream."
Before she begins in her new role, Wilding is contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org.