Hakluyt & Company

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Hakluyt & Company Limited
TypePrivate limited company
IndustryManagement consultancy
Founded1995; 28 years ago (1995)
FoundersChristopher James, Mike Reynolds
Key people
Paul Deighton, Chairman
Varun Chandra, Managing Partner
Jean Veronica Tomlin Russell, Director
Don Vieira, Director
Revenue£59.1 million (2018), £84.9 million (2021)
£12.1 million (2018), £17.4 million (2021)

Hakluyt & Company is a British strategic advisory firm. The company is headquartered in London.[1]

Hakluyt was founded by former officials of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).[2][3][4] The company has recruited several former British spies and journalists from The Financial Times.[5] The name of the company comes from the geographer Richard Hakluyt.[6]

The firm is chaired by Paul Deighton, and the other members of the board include managing partner Varun Chandra, Paul Dimitruk, Don Viera, and Jean Tomlin.[7] Its head office is in Upper Brook Street, Mayfair. It also has branches on Park Avenue, Manhattan and Raffles Place, Singapore.[8]

Board and personnel[edit]

Hakluyt's international advisory board is chaired by Niall FitzGerald, former deputy chairman of Thomson Reuters UK and an adviser to Morgan Stanley.[9] Other board members have included Kieran Prendergast, former Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the United Nations; John Rose, former Rolls-Royce chief executive; Robert Webb, former BBC Worldwide chairman; and E. Neville Isdell, former chair of The Coca-Cola Company.[10]

Andrew Mitchell, former UK Secretary of State for International Development, acted as an adviser to Hakluyt.[10]

Hakluyt has established a network of operatives throughout the world who provide it with intelligence on commercial or political issues of interest to its clients. Operatives used by Hakluyt include embassy staff, former spies, reporters, and well connected government and corporate people.[10][8]

Hakluyt has strong links with the British intelligence service MI6. The Evening Standard wrote in 2012 that "Spies preparing for retirement are approached discreetly in St James’s clubs and asked if they would like some lucrative freelance action to top up their pensions".[8]

Hakluyt refused to comment when asked whether former employees of MI6 were required to cut ties with the intelligence agency when recruited to work at Hakluyt.[8]


Hakluyt works for large corporations, and has close links with large oil firms. Peter Cazalet, former deputy chairman of BP, helped establish Hakluyt and Peter Holmes, former chairman of Shell, has been president of its foundation.[6]

Its London office compiles reports provided by its field operatives.[8]

In 2001, The Sunday Times reported that oil companies Shell and BP hired Hakluyt to collect information on the environmental group Greenpeace.[6]

In 2012, one of Hakluyt's operatives, Neil Heywood, was found dead in his Chongqing hotel room. Local authorities said his death was due to alcohol consumption. Heywood had been close to the local Communist party representative, Bo Xilai, and his family. Wang Lijun, the local chief of police, told Xilai that he thought Heywood had been poisoned. This caused a disagreement and Wang sought asylum at the U.S. consulate. Soon after, Xilai was suspended from the Politburo, and disappeared from public view.[8][10]

In 2023, Bloomberg reported that the British Labour Party had "brought in" Hakluyt to help it court the British business community by arranging meetings with prominent business figures. A spokesperson for Hakluyt stated that "we do not work for political parties,” while a Labour spokesperson declined to comment on the association.[11]

See also[edit]

Manfred Schlickenrieder


  1. ^ "Offices". HakluytandCo.com. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  2. ^ Sharon Lafraniere, John F. Burns (11 April 2012). "Briton's Wanderings Led Him to Heart of a Chinese Scandal". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  3. ^ Stephen Robinson (30 March 2012). "MI6, a death in China and the very secretive Mayfair company full of spooks". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  4. ^ Miranda, Charles (19 January 2016). "Britain is concerned about Australia's links to Hakluyt security firm created by former MI6 agents". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 3 December 2020. Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  5. ^ Burgis, Tom (13 January 2017). "Trump dossier throws light on murky world of private intelligence". The Financial Times.
  6. ^ a b c "UK: MI6 'Firm' Spied on Green Groups | corpwatch". www.corpwatch.org. 17 June 2001. Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Directors". Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Robinson, Stephen (30 March 2012). "MI6, a death in China and the very secretive Mayfair company full of". Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  9. ^ "International Advisory Board". HakluytandCo.com. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d "Death in China sheds light on shadowy Hakluy". Australian Financial Review. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  11. ^ Wickham, Alex (19 September 2023). "Labour Taps Hakluyt as Adviser to Woo Business Ahead of Vote". Yahoo News. Retrieved 20 September 2023.

External links[edit]