THE co-founder of a new Scottish communications consultancy has emphasised the importance for businesses to protect their reputations, declaring that corporate image should be prioritised as much as finance and operations.

Former BAA communications chief Malcolm Robertson launched Charlotte Street Partners with Andrew Wilson, a former SNP MSP and deputy chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), earlier this week.

The consultancy, chaired by Scottish business doyen Sir Angus Grossart, will provide strategic communications and management advice to companies, organisations and individuals.

Mr Robertson, who hopes to announce the firm's first clients when it officially opens in January, said: "I think corporate reputation has arguably never been more important.

"What we want to do is help boards of companies, the leadership of companies to better understand how their reputation works, and how fragile it can be.

"Our whole reason for being will be to help companies take the appropriate steps to mitigate the risks they face.

"In the last few years there have been case studies everywhere of organisations that haven't thought about managing their reputation risk in the same way they think about their financial risk or their operational risk.

"It is about helping people deal with the modern day pressures of a hungry, 24-hour media and all of the political and regulatory risk that comes along with that."

Charlotte Street Partners, which has offices in both Edinburgh and London, has brought Chris Deerin and Sharon Ward in as partners and has signalled its intention to recruit more staff. Its board includes Roland Rudd and James Murgatroyd of RLM Finsbury, and Johnny Hornby, founding director of The & Partnership.