Former Stormont Minister and Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton to head up a new strategy and advisory firm designed to help business and government work better together

Integrated marketing, public relations and eCommerce group Ardmore has launched a new, standalone consultancy as part of its core services.

The group, which incorporates creative advertising company Ardmore, public relations specialists LK Communications and eCommerce industry leader Built for Growth (BFG) Digital, and employs over 80 staff, said the new business will support companies and government as part of a partnership approach to advance and progress shared agendas in an increasingly complex, challenging world.

The new business, Confluence Consulting, will operate within the Ardmore Group of companies, supporting existing and new clients, and will be led by former Economy, Finance and Health Minister Simon Hamilton, who will be departing from his role as Belfast Chamber Chief Executive after almost four years.

After graduating with degrees in history, politics and law from Queen’s University of Belfast, Simon started his career at global business consultancy PwC in Belfast. Simon began his political career in 2005 and served as Minister of Finance, Minister of Health and Minister for the Economy in the Northern Ireland Executive before joining Belfast Chamber in 2019.

He has been widely acclaimed for his work successfully influencing policy makers and championing and supporting the needs of business throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Ardmore Group Chief Executive Officer John Keane said:

“In a rapidly changing, challenging and often confusing world, businesses – and government – need powerful, impactful engagement, greater understanding and more meaningful partnerships to tackle issues and to find solutions that drive economic growth and investment, and support positive societal development.

Our new consultancy division, Confluence, which I’m delighted is spearheaded by one of the region’s most experienced and insightful leaders in business and politics, Simon Hamilton, will be a powerful linchpin, platform and conduit between business and government that will drive positive, impactful change and progress.”

Confluence Consulting Head, Simon Hamilton, said:

“At times, politics and business can seem like they operate in entirely different worlds, but what I’ve realised during my over 20 years working in both, is that industry needs to interact closely with government and that success in our society is frequently constructed upon foundations built by both the public and private sectors. 

Despite that important interface, business and government can struggle to work together effectively to achieve our shared aims.  Confluence Consulting is about working with leaders in the public, private and third sectors to help them work better together.

I am delighted to be able to combine my experience in government and business and channel that into working with Confluence’s clients to define, inform, and strengthen decision-making. Ultimately, it will improve the understanding between businesses and their stakeholders and help organisations seamlessly navigate their way to rebuilding, recovering and preparing for emerging challenges. 

Northern Ireland feels like it is on the cusp of an exciting period.  We have issues to overcome, but there is renewed international interest in our region as well as new economic opportunities.  Confluence is passionate about realising this potential and I look forward to working with our clients to achieve that common goal.

Ardmore is one of the UK and Ireland’s top, multi award-winning integrated creative agencies, committed to enhancing reputations, improving bottom lines and sparking behaviour change that drives results through strategic advertising, media, social and digital marketing and design.

Campaign magazine placed Ardmore as one of the top UK creative agencies in 2022.

Founded in 2005, CIPR Northern Ireland ‘PR Consultancy of the Year’ LK Communications, is a multi-award-winning strategic communications, media relations and content management specialist delivering high impact results for a range of businesses, industries and professional services organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

BFG Digital, UK eCommerce Agency of the Year, was founded in 2000 as Export Technologies, and has grown to become one of the north’s top digital marketing agencies, representing more than 50 high-profile clients and brands in the UK and Ireland.

With an 80-strong team, the Ardmore Group of companies is a recognised industry leader and represents some of the UK and Ireland’s largest public and private sector organisations and brands including Belfast City Council, Dale Farm, eir evo, Gas Networks Ireland, Lidl, Lookers Plc, The Northern Ireland Executive Office, Network Rail, Phoenix Energy, Stena Line, Translink and Visit Belfast.

The Group is also a longstanding partner and shareholder in Worldwide Partners Inc (WPI), a global network of 83 independent agencies in 44 countries, who collaborate and work together as one to harness their creativity, local expertise and diversified capabilities to deliver meaningful campaigns for a range of international brands.