Manchester is the network's fourth office -- PHD Compass is already established in Leeds, London and the West Midlands -- and the office becomes the regional hub outside of London.
Blakeman joins PHD Compass as a managing partner from Initiative Media, where he was European director of strategy for Unilever, based in both London and Paris. However, he is a well-known name in the regional media scene -- before joining Initiative he worked as managing director of CIA in Manchester.
The news ends years of speculation as to what PHD's intentions were for Manchester. PHD chief executive David Pattison confirmed, "We've had our eye on Manchester for a while and with Steve on board, PHD Compass will offer a strong proposition in the market."
Managing partner Andrew Diamond, who runs the PHD Compass office in Leeds, will support Blakeman in building up the Manchester hub. Both report to PHD Compass managing director Mark Girling, who is based in London.
Girling said, "This is an important step in our development and we're confident Manchester will contribute to our growth and success. Our planning-led approach, supported by the wider resource and buying capabilities of the PHD group, has much to offer Manchester-based advertisers."
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