Darren Philp, Founder and Managing Director
Darren is a self-confessed pensions and financial services geek, with a passion for creating a better, simpler more engaging industry that delivers better outcomes for its customers.
Darren jumped with both feet out of client-side roles in June 2022 as he wanted to try something different - going alone had been an ambition that has been long in the making - and focus on a broader range of pensions and financial services issues. Knowing each and every pitfall that side-lines internal teams from getting stuff over the line – he created Shula to help those teams make meaningful corporate communications happen. The rest…as they say…is history.
Prior to setting up Shula, Darren was Director of Policy at Smart Pension, where he was active in the industry lobbying for change in pensions and financial services for the benefit of members and customers. Darren joined Smart in September 2018, having previously undertaken policy-related roles at the The People's Pension, the National Association of Pension Funds (now Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association) and HM Treasury – where he headed up the pensions team between 2007 and 2010 and was closely involved in the design and implementation of the UK’s flagship auto-enrolment programme.
Darren is active within industry bodies through contributing to research, thought leadership and policy development work, and is a regular commentator in the media. He has sat on various PLSA and ABI committees, and is a member of the PLSA Policy Board. He also sits on the PMI external affairs committee, and has recently joined the AIMSE Europe Council. Darren is a governor and trustee of the independent Pensions Policy Institute.
Darren has a BSc(Econ) in Economics from Leicester University and an MSc in Economics and Econometrics from Southampton University. Outside of work, Darren’s interests include football (both ‘soccer’ and American Football), cricket and listening to live music. Darren is also attempting (with the emphasis on attempting….) to learn the piano.
Dr Andy Tarrant, Associate Director
Dr Andy Tarrant is an independent public policy adviser. At Shula PR and Policy, he is an Associate Director specialising in UK and EU public affairs and public policy.
Previously he has been the head of strategic communications and before that the head of policy and government relations at B&CE, provider of the People’s Pension. Prior to joining the People’s Pension, he was the senior parliamentary adviser to the shadow Europe minister and before that to the shadow pension minister.
He was a consultant on Brexit for the Tony Blair Institute for whom he wrote some widely reported papers on the effects of Brexit on the UK trade in services and the consequences of leaving the customs union. He has also been responsible for features, specialist press and BAME media at Labour Party central office; head of government and regulatory affairs for British Telecommunications (“BT”) Plc’s Global Services Division; director of regulatory affairs at the European Competitive Telecommunications Association; a senior competition lawyer at BT Plc; and head of the International Section at the UK telecommunications regulator. He qualified as solicitor into the competition law department at Herbert Smith Solicitors.
Andy recently completed a mastère spécialisé “expert en affaires publiques européennes” at l’ENA. He has a PhD in political science and postgraduate degrees in economics, European law, European politics and political journalism. His first degree was at Oxford University in history. He regularly publishes on regulatory issues.