Sanctuary Counsel was founded in 2019 by David McDonough, one of the most experienced communications advisers in the London market. In Sanctuary Counsel, he has convened a group of senior advisers, each practising at the top of their fields, who can offer clients a unique breadth and depth of strategic and reputational advice.
Founder & Chairman
David McDonough OBE
David McDonough is the Founder & Chairman of Sanctuary Counsel. He has been advising on strategic communications at the highest levels for over 40 years. For thirteen years, he worked with Tim Bell and a team of Senior Consultants to create the gold standard in strategic communications consulting for an unrivalled client list of businesses, business leaders, professional firms, foreign governments, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Heads of State and major charities.
In 2003, David launched The McDonough Partnership with the specific objective of offering strategic communications and navigational advice to business leaders, including the creators of remarkable businesses, as well as companies and professional firms. In 2019, he founded Sanctuary Counsel in order to broaden and deepen the firm’s capacity for senior counsel.
David has been active in the charity world for over thirty years, including co-founding The October Club, of which he is now Life President, and being a trustee and Patron of several charities. He was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen in 1998 for services to the community. David is also a Freeman of the City of London; a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford; a Liveryman of The Merchant Taylors Company; a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts; and an Officer of The Order of St John.
Ben Ullmann is Chief Executive of Sanctuary Counsel. He has over ten years' experience in strategic communications and reputation management. He is on the Advisory Board of Smart Thinking which aggregates on one platform, all the latest public policy research and analysis from leading UK think tanks.
Ben was previously a Managing Director with Teneo, the global CEO advisory firm. There he advised CEOs and boards of several companies in media, financial services, retail, and leisure, including in special situations such as M&A, IPOs, restructuring and crisis. He has also advised individuals and families on promoting and protecting their personal reputation. Ben is a seasoned speechwriter and has helped several CEOs and business leaders to find their voices in the public square.
Prior to joining Teneo, Ben was Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks and a Research Fellow for Policy Exchange, a leading Westminster think-tank. Ben is a keen follower of UK and American politics and worked on a Senate election campaign in Louisville, Kentucky in 2010.
Michael Burleigh is a British author and historian, a regular contributor to various newspapers and other publications, and he has taught at New College, Oxford, the LSE and Stanford University, among others. Since 2009 he has been a Research Professor of History at Buckingham University and from 2019 is the Engelsberg Chair at LSE Ideas, the pre-eminent global affairs think-tank. He provides Sanctuary Counsel clients expert geo-political insight and advice on Europe, America and China.
Michael is the author of 14 books, translated into 24 languages, and the co-maker of three award-winning TV documentary films. His prizes include the Samuel Johnson for Non-Fiction and the Nonino International ‘Maestro del Suo Tempo’. He is the founder and CEO of Sea Change Partners LLP which advises on global political risk in the City and to overseas clients.
Richard Clark is a distinguished lawyer and former executive managing partner of Slaughter and May. Richard served as a member of the Partnership Board and was head of Dispute Resolution, with an international practice covering financial institutions, international trade, fraud and asset tracing, entertainment and Art Law. He was elected executive partner in 2013 and served in this role until his retirement from the firm in May 2017. Through this wealth of experience he is able to advise companies, particularly professional services firms, on strategic, organisational and management issues.
Richard is now a consultant, advising businesses and senior management teams on a range of issues including strategy, market and brand positioning, reputational management, strategy, governance and remuneration. He also sits as a Mediator, helping parties to resolve disputes and reach facilitated agreements.
Richard is Chairman of Michael Grandage Company, the theatre, film and TV production company. He is also Chairman of The College of Legal Practice, a Commissioner of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea and an Honorary Fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford.
The Rt Hon The Lord Garnier PC QC
Edward Garnier is a distinguished barrister and Queen’s Counsel, practising as a specialist in defamation, media law, international human rights, commercial and corporate criminal law from 4 Pump Court in the Temple. He has acted, amongst others, for the national, foreign and local press, internet service providers, broadcasters and publishing houses, as well as for British and foreign corporate clients, senior politicians and sports and entertainment stars and the Serious Fraud Office.
Edward was the Conservative MP for Harborough between 1992-2017 during which time he served on the front bench both in Government and in Opposition. He was Solicitor General between 2010-2012 when he dealt with a wide range of cases involving international law, the law on armed conflict, terrorism, extradition, EU law, the ECHR, devolution, contempt and corporate and individual crime. He was Shadow Attorney General 1999-2001 and 2009-10. Edward was knighted in 2012, became a Privy Counsellor in 2015 and then a member of the House of Lords in 2018.
Edward’s combined experience brings to clients a unique insight into the worlds of British politics, international relations and the law.
Sian Hansen spent over a decade leading two of Britain’s largest thinktanks, serving as Managing Director of Policy Exchange for seven years before working as Executive Director of the Legatum Institute between 2013 and 2016. She has recently been appointed Trustee and Associate Director of the new Onward think tank, a powerful ideas factory for centre-right thinkers and leaders, especially the younger generation.
She now has a portfolio career, as a non-executive director, adviser and board member for a number of private and philanthropic organisations. Earlier in her career, she was Director and Co-Head of Asian Sales for Société Générale in London. Sian offers wise counsel through an expertise and international network in the fields of public policy, technology, investment and the arts.
Professor Simon Heffer MA PhD FRHistS
Simon has been a political columnist for the Telegraph newspapers, the Daily Mail, the Spectator and the New Statesman since 1986. He was also Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator. He is a Professor of Modern British History at the University of Buckingham, and has written several acclaimed history books and biographies. He is able to offer senior counsel to those looking to understand the anatomy of Britain and its future or who wish to grasp the prevailing winds in global current affairs.
Sir Stephen Lamport GCVO DL
Sir Stephen is a senior career diplomat and public servant, having served on diplomatic missions and as private secretary in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Royal Household. For ten years (2008 – 2018) Sir Stephen was Receiver General (Chief Executive) of Westminster Abbey, in charge of every aspect of the Abbey’s non-liturgical life and its 300 staff and 500 volunteers. He had previously been a Group Director of the Royal Bank of Scotland for five years.
He joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1974 and served at the UK Mission to the United Nations, and at the British embassies in Tehran and Rome. At the Foreign Office in Whitehall he was Private Secretary to Douglas Hurd and Malcolm Rifkind as Ministers of State.
He spent ten years in the service of the Royal Household. He was appointed Deputy Private Secretary to The Prince of Wales in January 1993, then Private Secretary and Treasurer from 1996 to 2002. Sir Stephen was appointed CVO in 1999, KCVO in 2002 and GCVO in 2018. He has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey since 2006.
Sir Stephen brings to Sanctuary Counsel a wide experience of Whitehall and public life of all kinds at their most senior levels, and a deep understanding of issues of reputation and ethical behaviour.