Conflict of Interest Puts Bell Pottinger In Hotseat
Swiss luxury brand Richemont and its CEO, South African billionaire Johann Rupert, hired Bell Pottinger primarily to keep Rupert’s name out of the news. At some point after that, Bell Pottinger picked up another client, the Gupta family, who Rupert believes hired Bell Pottinger to tell and exaggerate stories about Rupert, Richemont, and related people and entities, getting them into the news. If that’s what is happening, it’s a direct conflict of interest and unethical behavior to boot. Bell Pottinger representatives say that’s not the case and they have done nothing wrong.
Bell Pottinger has also recently been investigated for participation in a covert campaign on foreign soil regarding fake news video and reports to boost America’s push against Iraq from 2003-2011, working for the Pentagon, the National Security Council, and the CIA. Whatever the situation, Rupert’s no longer a client, and he’s made it clear that anyone dealing with the U.K. PR firm should beware.
Steve Astle Becomes SVP at Text100 in San Francisco
At the beginning of November, Steve Astle officially started work at Text100 as their senior VP of highly regulated markets – a new position created especially for him. He reports to Ken Peters, regional director of North America and EVP, and will counsel clients, develop innovative service options, and help speed up the agency’s growth. Astle said: “There’s a technology story and there’s also a human story. The opportunity we see is to humanize this transformation.”
Astle previously served as CCO and VP of corporate marketing position with FICO until the position was consolidated into another one and that combined position is now filled by Nikhil Behl, head of FICO’s marketing. While at FICO, Astle was part of the leadership bringing FICO through the credit score problems of the GFC. He worked at FleishmanHillard before FICO as well as at FitzGerald Communications, Applied Communications, and previously at Text100 in a different capacity,
2015’s Best Paid U.K. PR Chiefs and Directors
In 2015, PR agency leaders in the U.K. saw some pretty high pay rates. Topping the list was the director for Finsbury making almost £5.4 million – nearly £1 million more than the previous year. This information comes from a report compiled by Kingston Smith and accountancy firm. The list shows the highest paid directors from the 40 biggest PR firms in the U.K. during 2015. Information was pulled from Companies House records.
Rounding out the top five on the list are Lansons Communications LLP (in second place) at over £1.4 million, a nearly £200K increase over 2014, CMGRP UK (Weber Shandwick UK) with £1.041 million up from £1.017, Bell Pottinger Private Limited at £850K from £819K, and in the fifth spot, Next Fifteen Communications Group PLC at £815K from £641K in 2014.
Ketchum Wins 3 Awards at ICCO Global Awards in London
On December 1st, Ketchum was honored at the ICCO Global Awards. The highest honor went to Rob Flaherty, Ketchum’s senior partner, CEO, and President, who was given recognition as PR leader of the year. In addition to that, they received awards for a joint campaign with FleishmanHillard Fishburn as the World’s Best PR Campaigns – Healthcare for Philips Future Health Index, and the Regional Network of the Year – AMERICAS Award.
November Was a Good Month for North 6th Agency
SoHo’s North 6th Agency promoted Lindsey Salas to oversee in-house corporate publicity strategies, marketing, and branding in the role of communications and events manager. She’ll also be in charge of management and coordination of events for their clients and reporting to Daniela Mancinelli, EVP of brand services. North 6th also has ongoing monthly awards. For November the N6A Team of the Month when to the N6A/BlueRock Energy account team whose efforts presented BlueRock as an authority on energy topics with trending media across the U.S. In addition, Forbes.com recognized the firm for their data-driven commitment and unique customer service approach in garnering results for their clients.