Two of the most prestigious UK public affairs accounts are up for
grabs, with a host of agencies set to scramble for the business.
Both Railtrack and Scottish Power are staging pitches for six-figure
lobbying contracts in heavily regulated sectors, with the promise of
plenty of high-level contact with ministers and officials.
Beleaguered railway track and stations owner Railtrack is set to hire
its first lobbying firm since it broke the link with Bell Pottinger
Public Affairs last July. The company's financial PR firm, Brunswick,
has done some PA project work for Railtrack since that relationship came
to an end.
The Railtrack pitch is likely to take place in the next two months,
according to head of public affairs Mike Watson. The former adviser to
the late Labour leader John Smith and former acting leader Margaret
Beckett joined Railtrack last week.
He said: 'At Railtrack there is so much happening in the industry that
even though we try to do as much as we can in-house, we sometimes need
Watson reports to corporate affairs director Sue Clark, whose move to
Railtrack from the top PR job at Scottish Power - and the hiring of
Dominic Fry as her successor in Glasgow - have led to the second part of
the double pitch.
Scottish Power head of group media relations Colin McSeveny confirmed a
pitch was underway for the firm's lobbying work. He said that the
incumbent, GJW BSMG, which has worked on the business for three years in
an account headed by director Andrew Gifford, would repitch.
Scottish Power's pitch process is being overseen by both Fry and Jamie
Maxton, the successor to Watson in the head of public affairs role.
Watson had been at Scottish Power for four years before leaving last
month. He joined to establish a public affairs team in February 1996,
building up a five-strong unit in his time there.