Hakluyt & Company Ltd

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Group.png Hakluyt & Company Ltd  
(Intelligence agencyPowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Quintessentially British: Hakluyt at Tea (L-R James, Reynolds and Maclay)
Founder• Brian Cubbon
• Christopher James
• George Jellicoe
• Fitzroy MacLean
• Mike Reynolds
Typeintelligence agency
MembershipMichael Maclay
Hakluyt is a privately owned intelligence agency founded in 1995 by UK spooks. It has close ties to the UK deep state, MI6, Shell and BP.

Hakluyt & Company Ltd is a London-based private intelligence agency named after a 16th-century geographer and economic intelligence specialist avant la lettre. It was founded in 1995 by 5(?) former members of the MI6 and targets commercial customers.[citation needed]

“The idea was to do for industry what we had done for the government”
Christopher James (22 March 2000)  [1]

Official Narrative

Hakluyt fills a niche in the spook sector by specializing in upmarket business, with which it has been very successful. In its brochure, Hakluyt promises to find information for its clients which they "will not receive by the usual government, media and commercial routes". The company tries to distinguish itself from other business intelligence consultants, spinmasters and clipping services. "We do not take anything off the shelf, nothing off the Net—we assume that any company worth its salt has done all of that," Hakluyt's Michael Maclay explained at a 1999 conference in the Netherlands. "We go with the judgement of people who know the countries, the élites, the industries, the local media, the local environmentalists, all the factors that will feed into big decisions being made."[2]


The company was set up by UK spooks, Christopher James, Fitzroy MacLean & Mike Reynolds. It started in a one room office in 1995; in 2001 it claims its clients include one-quarter of FTSE 100 companies.[citation needed]

What is Hakluyt?

Christopher James, managing director of the foundation and a former Foreign Office hand, explains: "Richard Hakluyt was a 16th-century geographer, born in London, who sat and listened to the tales told by returning explorers such as Drake and Frobisher. Then he wrote them up as 'Hakluyt's Voyages'. He was one of the principle inspirations for the East India Company."
Hakluyt & Co (now Hakluyt Ltd) was founded by Fitzroy MacLean in 1995. Steven Dedijer (the man who largely invented modern-day business intelligence at Lund university in Sweden) watched MacLean's career between 1937 and 1995, and claimed that he "had a foot in the intelligence world since he attended Stalin's terror trials in 1937 as a member of the Foreign Office to Mikhail Gorbachev's time — he advised Margaret Thatcher to back him — and to the war in former Yugoslavia, in which he was in close contact with gen. Michael Rose". Maclean "acted all his life following the best British tradition dating from the 16th century as an independent intelligence operator working informally but effectively for and within the British establishment's power network.".[3]
The Financial Times called Maclean, "a highly active 84-year-old who has just brought out yet another book on Scotland, is one of those people who knows everyone, on both sides of the Atlantic," in 1995. (MacLean died of a heart attack in 1996.)[4]
In addition to MacLean, the founders of the highly discreet Hakluyt & Company were the Earl of Jellico, who was head of a committee to reform intelligence and security under the Thatcher government and then president of the Royal Geographic Society; and Brian Cubbon, former permanent secretary at the Home Office who was a candidate in 1987 to head the Secret Service.

The Hakluyt Foundation

The company has a kind of supervision board, the Hakluyt foundation, headed since 1995 by the late Sir Fitzroy Maclean. He was an intrepid explorer himself who was parachuted into Yugoslavia in the Second World War to act as the Allies' main link with Tito, the partisan leader and subsequent Communist boss. Lady Smith, who also sat on this board, was a close friend of Sir Fitzroy for many years, sharing his close interest in Russia and Eastern Europe. Following Sir Fitzroy's death Sir Peter Holmes, formerly senior managing director of Royal Dutch Shell Group, took over as president of the foundation.
Since 2005 Hakluyt has been run since last year by former diplomat Keith Craig.The company is based in London's West End and only has half- a-dozen salaried staff, relying on 50 to 60 external experts to provide advice to companies.[5]

Spying exposed

Manfred Schlickenrieder apparently was one of those people who "knew the local environmentalists". For years, he posed as a leftist sympathizer and filmmaker while working as a spy for Hakluyt. His cover was blown when the Swiss action group Revolutionaire Aufbau began to distrust him. In the investigation which led to his exposure, the group uncovered a large pile of documents. Many were put online at the beginning of 2000.."[6] These documents prove Schlickenrieder was on Hakluyt's payroll—and indicate strongly that he was working for more than one German state intelligence service.

Among the documents was detailed email correspondence between Schlickenrieder and Hakluyt. There was also a DM20,000 ($9,000) invoice to Hakluyt for "Greenpeace research" including expenses, "to be paid according to agreement in the usual manner". Confronted with this material, Hakluyt reluctantly admitted having employed him. When The Sunday Times broke the story in Britain in July 2000, both BP and Shell acknowledged having hired the firm, but claimed they had been unaware of its tactics.."[7] Schlickenrieder's exposure put the spotlight on an firm that prefers to operate highly discreetly in the shadowy area of former state intelligence specialists-turned-private spies. Members of Parliament accused MI6 of using the firm as a front to spy on green activists.

Analyzing archival material found in Schlickenrieder's house teaches us much about how he did his work for Hakluyt, and about oil companies' current intelligence needs.

Schlickenrieder traded on his image as a long-term devoted activist to get various information-gathering commissions. After the Brent Spar PR crisis and the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria, he made an inventory for Shell International of the activist agenda. Posing as a film-maker making a film about the anti-Shell campaigns, Schlickenrieder travelled around Europe, and managed to interview on film a broad spectrum of people campaigning for the Ogoni people in Nigeria. He spent months questioning all sorts of groups, and wrote to organizations ranging from Friends of the Earth to Anita Roddick's Body Shop asking about their ongoing campaigns, their future plans and the impact of their work. The project eventually resulted in a documentary video, Business as Usual: The Arrogance of Power, which gave a rather superficial insight into the European campaign against Shell. But it was only a byproduct of the investigation: every worthwhile detail was captured in a report for Hakluyt and subsequently channelled to Shell International.

Other oil companies were scared to death, too, of becoming Greenpeace's next target. BP turned to Hakluyt for help after it got wind that Greenpeace was planning its Atlantic Frontier campaign to stop oil drilling in a new part of the Atlantic. The company asked Schlickenrieder to deliver details about what was going to happen as well as assess how Greenpeace might respond to possible damage claims that could be used in an attempt to paralyze it. Hakluyt used material from other sources to complement the information about Greenpeace's plans Schlickenrieder provided. It claimed to have laid its hands on a copy of Putting the Lid on Fossil Fuels, the Greenpeace brochure meant to kick off the campaign, even before the ink was dry. BP used this inside information to polish its press and PR communications. "BP countered the campaign in an unusually fast and smart way," Greenpeace Germany spokesperson Stefan Krug told the German daily die tTageszeitung/TAZ. Since it knew what was coming in advance, BP was never taken by surprise.[8]

BP also used Hakluyt to plan a counter-strategic lawsuit against Greenpeace. In a May 1997 email message to Schlickenrieder, Hakluyt's Director Mike Reynolds inquired about the possible impact of suing the environmentalists for mounting a campaign like the Brent Spar one. He asked his German spy for information on whether Greenpeace was taking legal steps to protect its assets against seizure in the event it was sued by an oil company.

The answer to that question is not among the exposed documents. However, when BP's Stena Dee oil installation in the Atlantic Ocean was occupied two months later, the company sued Greenpeace for DM4.2 million (almost $2 million) in damages, insisting its work was being delayed. BP got an injunction to block Greenpeace UK's bank accounts, which caused the group serious financial problems. (This was one of the first times an injunction was used to threaten activists with possible arrest. It has since become an increasingly popular way to stop a campaign.)

Oil activism was not Schlickenrieder's only field of activity. The Aufbau group discovered leads about research he did for Hakluyt on banks and financial takeovers. And in 1996 he started mapping resistance against Rio Tinto, which calls itself the "world leader in finding, mining and processing the Earth's mineral resources."[9]

He continued to bill Hakluyt for this research until at least spring 1999.[10]

A freelance spy

Schlickenrieder had apparently built up spying experience during years of working for Germany's domestic and foreign intelligence services, Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz and Bundesnachrichtendienst. Documents found at his home indicated he had had access to reports from them as well as the French and Italian secret services. None of the spy agencies acknowledged publicly that Schlickenrieder had been working for them; however, informed sources agreed that the agent's exposure had been a blow for the German intelligence community, as several serious papers reported. Furthermore, the Schlickenrieder case was discussed in the prime minister and parliamentary committee's weekly meeting with the German secret services—a meeting of which no minutes are ever published.[11]

Though there is evidence that they paid him, it is not known whether he was actually on the payroll; he may have been a freelance spy. The fact that he wrote detailed proposals for the government, suggesting new fields of research within the radical leftist movement, points in this direction. Whichever it was, the rewards of espionage seem to have included a spacious flat overlooking a park in Munich and a BMW Z3, the model of sports car driven by James Bond in Goldeneye. His monthly expenses were calculated at $4,500.

He became good at delivering different kinds of intelligence, from broad overviews to assessments to insider mood reports. Taking advantage of activists' trust, he developed a knack for piecing together bits and pieces of information to compile a fairly accurate picture.

He frequented meetings of radical leftist groups (including the Red Army Faction from the early 1980s until his cover was blown, and he made a documentary about violent resistance with solidarity groups and relatives of convicted comrades which featured the RAF. Another film, about Italy's Red Brigades, on which he had been working since 1985, was never finished. But stills from his video footage served as a photo database, accompanied by personal details about everybody he had met.

His ways of working for state and business were similar—there seemed to be no boundaries between the two. He sometimes compiled reports for Hakluyt without being asked. For instance, in a September 1997 email to Hakluyt, he explained how he had "used the opportunity of visiting Hamburg to talk to two separate people within Greenpeace". In closing, he wrote: "That was your free 'mood report' supplement from Hamburg."

The MI6 connection

News clippings provide revealing details on the background of Hakluyt's founders. Christopher James and Mike Reynolds are both former members of the British foreign service. Ex-MI6 chief Spedding is said to have given his blessing to Hakluyt as a company, as is the foreign secretary..[12] Reynolds founded MI6's counter-terrorism branch and was the foreign service's head of station in Berlin. This explains his impeccable spoken and written German and may also be the way he got to know Manfred Schlickenrieder. The newly appointed head of MI6, Richard Dearlove, is a close friend of his.[13]

James led a section of MI6 that liaised with British firms. Over his 20-year career he got to know the heads of many of Britain's top companies. In return for a few tips that helped them compete in the market, he persuaded them to pass on intelligence from their overseas operations, industry sources told Management Today. After the Cold War, James argued that MI6 should expand this role. But others in the organization feared this could be mistaken for 'economic espionage'. He left MI6 in 1995, taking his intelligence work private.[14]

Hakluyt's management board is a display case for the kind of reputation the company is aiming for. One member was Ian Fleming's model for James Bond—the former soldier, spy and diplomat Sir Fitzroy Maclean. And the company is linked to the oil industry through Sir William Purves, CEO of Shell Transport and chairman of Hakluyt; Sir Peter Holmes, former chairman of Shell and current president of the Hakluyt foundation (a kind of supervisory board); and Sir Peter Cazalet, the former deputy chairman of BP, who helped to establish Hakluyt before he retired in 2000. BP itself has longstanding ties to MI6: its director of government and public affairs, John Gerson, was at one time a leading candidate to succeed Sir David Spedding as chief of MI6.[15]

It is important that NGOs and other pressure groups trying to assess possible threats remember the close ties between risk assessment companies and the government intelligence community. Some larger and older companies, such as Control Risks, may have grown away from direct links to government, which could explain the market for new agencies with more recent connections, like Hakluyt. Such firms have the necessary knowledge and techniques at their disposal, either through their own experience, their staff 's experience, or direct contacts. This can have consequences for the way they investigate their clients' adversaries; as in the Schlickenrieder case, they might use infiltrators posing as activists or dedicated journalists, and they might have access to classified intelligence information. The specialty of privatized spying shops goes beyond PR consulting or spin doctoring into the rather vague terrain of intelligence operations, which can be used in both gathering information and setting up stings.

From the Financial Times to Hakluyt

According to Intelligence Online, Mark Huband joined Hakluyt in the summer of 2006, after a long career in journalism in the United Kingdom - he worked for the Guardian, Times and Financial Times. Huband had long specialized in Africa and the Middle East, where he was based for years for the Times and Guardian (he was one of the few newsmen to cover the American intervention in Somalia in 1993). Since 2003 he had reported on defense, security and "terrorism" for the Financial Times. Huband, who left the newspaper last year, won't be the first journalist to work for Hakluyt, Intelligence Online knows. A number of former British and Australian newspaper and television correspondents are - or have been -on its payroll.[16]

New labour links

Demos' Ian Hargreaves is on the board of the Centre for European Reform with Baroness Elizabeth Smith - the wife of the late Labour leader. Between 98 and 2000, Smith was on the board of Hakluyt who spied on environmental groups for oil companies, including BP. Smith is an advisor for BP Scotland. Hargreaves is on the board of Greenpeace and Hakluyt spied on Greenpeace. If you look at the others on the CER board you see BP well represented. Shell fund Demos and their offices are across the road. Demos Trustee, Andrew Mackenzie is their Treasurer and also BP group vice president for chemicals. Hakluyt also spied on Anita Roddick's 'Body Shop' and Roddick is also on the Demos Board.[17]


Hakluyt & Company Ltd

former vice president of BP (before 1995)
1995 founder of Hakluyt with Christopher James
2000 retired from Hakluyt
former diplomat and business development manager for a law firm,
joined Hakluyt in 1995
2000 joined Hakluyt, was director responsible for marketing and second man before taking over from James:
2006 managing director
former permanent secretary at the Home Office and Northern Ireland Office
1987 was a candidate to head the Secret Service.
1995 One of the founders of Hakluyt
grand-son of the late American oil tycoon.
2002 became a non-executive director of Hakluyt.
paid legal adviser to Hakluyt
2006 award winning journalist from FT to join Hakluyt
was Peter Mandelson's secretary when he was Minister of International Trade under Tony Blair
and then worked as scientific councillor at the British embassy in Paris.
formerly in charge of MI6's business relations.
1995 founder of Hakluyt with Peter Cazalet
2006 retired as managing director (turned 60 in January 2006)
2006 joining Hakluyt International Advisory Board
was head of a committee to reform intelligence and security under the Thatcher government
reportedly 'provided early encouragement' to Hakluyt)[18]
a former special advisor to the minister for foreign affairs under John Major,
1997 to 2003 was one of Hakluyt's mainstays
2003 founded his own firm, Montrose Associates.
Chairman in 1999
former station head of MI6 in Germany,
1995 joined Hakluyt
a non-executive director of Hakluyt & Co in 2000 and 2001 and
member of the Hakluyt Foundation, succeeding Sir Brian Cubbon.
former member of the Welsh Guards and businessman.
with Hakluyt from 1995-96

The Hakluyt Foundation, the supervisory board

ex CEO of Vodafone
2005 joined Hakluyt
former Shell senior managing director and chairman,
1997 joined Hakluyt and took over as President of the Foundation after the death of McLean
??until 2004
former chief of the Defence Staff
1999 joined Hakluyt Foundation
also on the board of Aegis
(former?) executive director of Commerzbank
2002 joining the supervisory board of Hakluyt & Co
(or was he stillchairman of the Commerzbank supervisory board when he joined Hakluyt?)
1995 one of the founders
1997 until he died
former chairman of Mitsubishi Corporation,
2004 joined the international advisory board of Hakluyt.
1968-1998 chairman of HSBC Holdings
1994 to 1997 chairman of Midland Bank
1999 joined the Hakluyt Foundation
2000- at least until 2005
2002 retiring as chairman of both Cable & Wireless and Rolls-Royce
2002 joining the supervisory board of Hakluyt & Co
until the end of 2002
former board member of IBM, Ford and New York Stock Exchange.
2002 president of the Hakluyt Foundation in succession to Sir Peter Holmes,
2005 died in May
former non-executive director of Hakluyt, former British ambassador to NATO and the UN
2005 joined Hakluyt
former US under-secretary of state for international security affairs
served as ambassador to India, the Philippines, Egypt and Zambia.
a vice-chairman of AIG and
director of EOG Resources, formerly known as Enron Oil and Gas.

Resources for the Hakluyt People section

  • Forward charge Financial Times, August 11, 1995
  • Fitzroy MacLean's Legacy, Intelligence Newsletter, October 17, 1996
  • Lord Trotman and Sir William Purves join Hakluyt Financial Times, September 13, 1999,
  • Moving places Hakluyt and Company, Financial Times, January 11, 2001
  • Moving places Frank Wisner, Financial Times, August 7, 2001
  • Annual Report BT group, Nov 2001 at http://www.groupbt.com/report/dir_rep_gov/board/
  • BT Group PLC - Board Changes, the Independent, January 7, 2002
  • Moving places Lord Alex Trotman, Financial Times, March 22, 2002,
  • Moving places Hakluyt Foundation, Financial Times, October 21, 2002
  • Hakluyt Loses One of Its Mentors Intelligence Online May 20, 2005
  • RUTH SULLIVAN, Change of guard at Hakluyt,Financial Times, England, February 7, 2006
  • Hakluyt Founder Calls it a Day, Intelligence Online, February 10, 2006
  • The Indian Ocean Newsletter July 29, 2006
  • From the Financial Times to Hakluyt, Intelligence Online, July 7, 2006
  • The Indian Ocean Newsletter, July 29, 2006


  • Aufbau.org website Revolutionären Aufbau is the Swiss group that exposed Manfred Schlickenrieder. The website dedicated to the research contains a lot of documentation, both sources material and press clippings (mostly in German).
Januari 2001 werd de linkse Duitse filmer Manfred Schlickenrieder na twintig jaar ontmaskerd als spion van inlichtingendiensten. Hij was de grote man van Gruppe 2, een video- en documentatiecentrum dat diende als front voor een inlichtingennetwerk. Schlickenrieder was ook in Nederland actief, bijvoorbeeld om acties tegen Shell in de gaten te houden. Dat onderzoek werd betaald door de Londense firma Hackluyt, een consortium van voormalige agenten van MI6. Vier langere achtergrondstukken hierover op www.evel.nl

Dormant companies

At least two dormant UK companies use the Hakluyt name


Related Quotation

Hakluyt & Company Ltd“The idea was to do for industry what we had done for the government”Christopher James22 March 2000


Employee on Wikispooks

John WestonNon-executive director1 January 200128 February 2007


Known member

All 1 of the members already have pages here:

Michael MaclayFormer British diplomat and journalist with lots of spooky connections. Early member of the British American Project, recruited by Robert Maxwell and Lord Weidenfeld to their projects, director at Hakluyt, advisor to Carl Bildt...


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  1. Financial Times
  2. Michael Maclay, 'Recruiting Political Scientists', presentation at Academia Meets Business conference, Leiden, the Netherlands, 2-3 July 1999
  3. Fitzroy MacLean's Legacy, Intelligence Newsletter, 17 October 1996, Intelligence Online.
  4. Forward charge, Financial Times (London) 11 August 1995.
  5. John Willcock 'People & Business: Maharishi gets a flexible friend' The Independent (London) 14 August 1998, Page 21.
  6. http://www.geocities.com/aufbaulist/Gruppe2/Gruppe2.htm
  7. Maurice Chittenden and Nicholas Rufford MI6 'Firm' Spied on Green Groups The Sunday Times of London, June 17, 2001. His hidden agenda may have been to find out who was behind violent attacks on petrol stations following a boycott in Germany. Mike Hogan, Shell UK head of media relations, claimed in a personal phone call in July 2001 that this was what they had hired Hakluyt for. But there are no reports of Schlickenrieder approaching more radical groups, nor hinting at such subjects, from people he did speak to.
  8. Otto Diederichs and Holger Stark, Greenpeace, Das Auge der Multis, Die Tageszeitung, 10 December, 2000.
  9. See "About Us" section at Rio Tinto website
  10. Evidence that Schlickenrieder researched Rio Tinto is unpublished and is in the hands of members of Revolutionaire Aufbau, who exposed him.
  11. Thomas Scheuer, uppe2/focus120201.shtml Enttarnung im Internet, Focus, 12 Feb. 2001, and personal conversation with Otto Diederichs/TAZ.
  12. Maurice Chittenden and Nicholas Rufford MI6 'Firm' Spied on Green Groups The Sunday Times of London, 17 June 2001.
  13. "Business Intelligence Notes: UK", Intelligence Newsletter, No. 364, 26 Aug. 26, 1999, p. 3.
  14. Nicholas Rufford, 'Cloak and Dagger Ltd: Former spies of the Cold War era engage in industrial espionage', Management Today, 1 Feb. 1999, p. 9.
  15. Maurice Chittenden and Nicholas Rufford MI6 'Firm' Spied on Green Groups The Sunday Times of London, 17 June 2001.
  16. Business Inteligence and lobbying, No. 527, 7 July 2006 Intelligence Online
  17. Maurice Chittenden and Nicholas Rufford MI6 'Firm' Spied on Green Groups The Sunday Times of London, 17 June 2001.
  18. Stephen Overell, Masters of the great game turn to business, Financial Times, 22 March 2000.