Senior advisers

Our senior team provides strategic support to business leaders and executive teams in the energy sector, helping them to navigate the political landscape.

We draw our experience from decades in politics, campaigns, think tanks, consultancy and in-house.

In addition to our core team, we also work with trusted experts in litigation, corporate reputation, digital development and other specialist fields.

Our expert network

Alongside our senior advisory team, we work with a network of dozens of policy and disciplinary specialists.


From academic researchers to former civil servants, and from specialist lawyers to digital media strategists, we draw on a pool of world-leading expertise.

Rt Hon Charles Hendry UK political risk and strategy

Rt Hon Charles Hendry CBE

Senior Adviser

Charles Hendry was the British Government's Minister of State for Energy from 2010 until 2012, having previously served as Shadow Energy Minister since 2005, developing the Conservative Party's energy agenda.

On leaving Ministerial office, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed him as his Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, a role he continued until leaving Parliament in 2015. He was awarded the CBE in Her Majesty The Queen’s 2019 Birthday Honours for his work supporting British Trade.

On leaving Ministerial office, he was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh Business School and a Visiting Professor at the Mining University of St Petersburg.  He is President of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce; President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan; and President of the British Institute of Energy Economics.

Charles was educated at the University of Edinburgh, where he received an Honours Degree in Business Studies. He is a University Regent and also an Honorary Fellow of the Energy Institute.

Mark Cliffee_edited.jpg

Mark Cliffe

Senior Economics and Markets Adviser

Mark Cliffe provides Helmsley’s clients with senior counsel at Board and C-Suite level, as well as providing economic analysis and thought leadership on ESG and sustainable finance. Mark is well known for his distinctive insights on disruptive change in economics and policy, environment and climate, society and politics, and technology and consumer behaviour. He has long been prominent in the global media.


Mark served as Group Chief Economist and Head of Research at ING Group from 2006 to 2020, having previously led its financial markets research team. He led ING’s global team of 80 client-facing analysts covering macro-economics, market forecasting and scenario planning across multiple international markets. He then went on to found the bank’s New Horizons Hub in London and Amsterdam, providing strategic advice to ING and its clients on thought leadership and ESG. 


Before joining ING in 1998, Mark was Chief International Economist at HSBC, and before that was Chief Economist at ANZ Merchant Bank and Nomura respectively. 


Chris Brannigan 

Senior Adviser

Chris Brannigan is a former Special Adviser to two Conservative Prime Ministers. He was the Director of Government Relations at No 10 Downing Street for Prime Minister Theresa May, and more recently as part of Boris Johnson's Policy Unit, with responsibility for Defence. He was part of the No 10 Task Force working on the UK's Integrated Review of its foreign and defence policy framework.

He provides interpretation, analysis and counsel on politics and government policy for clients at national and international level. He is also a Senior Fellow at the UK’s leading think tank, Policy Exchange.


Chris is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Kings College London and Manchester Business School.

Benedict McAleenan strategy and UK political risk

Benedict McAleenan

Managing Partner

Benedict is Helmsley Partners' founder and Managing Partner. He leads client work in strategy development and policy risk across multiple sectors.

Benedict previously served 'in house' in the government relations team of the UK's largest energy provider, Centrica PLC, as well as in the public affairs team at the world's largest communications firm. He has advised clients at the national, EU and international levels in sectors including Energy, Resources, FMCG, Manufacturing, Engineering, Entertainment and Media. Previous clients have included National Grid, Centrica Energy, the Renewable Energy Association, Shell, Centrica, Sainsbury’s, Endurance Wind Power and Balfour Beatty.

Benedict previously led the Energy & Environment team at the UK's leading think tank, Policy Exchange, where he still serves as a Senior Fellow.

Sarah Kay Events and UK Political Risk.j

Sarah Kay

Events, Conferences & Platforms Partner

Sarah leads Helmsley's events and conferences, supporting our clients' convening power through development of thought leadership platforms, conferences, roundtables, launches and networking events.

Sarah is also Managing Director at the Golborne Collection, an events and marketing company. Prior to Golborne she was the Founding Managing Director of Story Events and Venue Search London. She was previously Managing Director of Mask, part of the Concerto Group.