BT Wireless configures PR in advance of sell off

BT Wireless has revealed the blueprint for its PR function in the

wake of confirmation that it is to be spun-off into a separate firm.



Wireless will be a separate firm by the end of 2001. BT is splitting

into Wireless, which houses Cellnet, and Future BT, which will control

its fixed line businesses. Newly-appointed chairman Sir Christopher

Bland will oversee the demerger, one of several measures aimed at

reducing BT's multi-billion pound debt.



Wireless head of communications William Ostrom said he was building a

substantial team to run his 'federal operation' from the firm's Slough

HQ.



'I am building what will be a significant team of 30 to 40 staff for the

post-demerger period. They will work throughout six operations in the

UK, Ireland, and mainland Europe,' Ostrom said. He added all ties would

be cut from the BT group during the coming months.



'Wireless will be charged with its own public and corporate affairs,

media relations and financial PR,' he said.



Ostrom said he was a 'great believer' in using specialist outside

agencies. Those used under the old structure include Le Fevre

Communications for trade and technical, Bite Communications for its 2002

3G mobile rollout, Fishburn Hedges for corporate PR and MacLaurin for

consumer.



Financial PR is overseen by Brunswick, the agency currently working on

the demerger.



In addition to Cellnet, Wireless includes internet portal Genie,

Germany's Viag Interkom, Holland's Telfort, Ireland's Esat Digifone, and

the Isle of Man's Manx Telecom.



'There will be teams for PR, PA and marcoms, but brands will also deal

with their own regional briefs,' explained Ostrom.



Wireless is likely to be valued at around pounds 15bn to 20bn, making it

a FTSE 100 company.



Future BT has yet to unveil its PR plans.



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