Philip Morris cuts ties with Gardant Communications

Philip Morris International has parted ways with Gardant Communications after working with the lobbying firm for a number of years.

Big money: Philip Morris makes seven of the top 15 cigarette brands
Big money: Philip Morris makes seven of the top 15 cigarette brands

The cigarette manufacturer joins a number of clients that have left Gardant in recent months.

Gardant confirmed that the agency is no longer working on the brief but declined to give any further details about what is happening to the account. PMI did not respond to contact from PRWeek, although sources have suggested the client is bringing the account in-house.

The move comes after PMI appointed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former press secretary Julie Soderlund as its director of regulatory comms in January.

Soderlund moved to PMI’s head office in Lausanne, Switzerland, from Sacramento, California, where she was a partner at Wilson-Miller Communications.

Gardant’s work for Philip Morris hit the news last December when it was revealed Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) wrote to Conservative health minister Earl Howe to warn that the tobacco industry was using legal manoeuvres to wreck plans for cigarettes to be sold in plain packets.

Instead of responding to Ash, Howe forwarded the letter to Gardant, requesting input.

The tobacco giant manufactures seven of the top 15 cigarette brands.

The news comes as the latest APPC register has revealed Gardant did not provide public affairs services to former clients Glasgow Caledonian University, offshore oil and gas company OGN Group, analytics firm Opera Solutions and Yukos Oil Company during the second quarter of 2012.

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