Dell continues global PR revamp, hires ex-HP exec to lead EMEA efforts

AUSTIN, TX AND LONDON: In its latest move to reorganize and globalize its communications functions, Dell Computer has hired a former HP exec to lead its PR efforts in the EMEA region.

AUSTIN, TX AND LONDON: In its latest move to reorganize and globalize its communications functions, Dell Computer has hired a former HP exec to lead its PR efforts in the EMEA region.

Roger Wilson, the new EMEA corporate communications director, replaces Jerele Neeld, an American sent to London about two years ago. Last week, Neeld assumed the role of global industry analyst relations director in Austin. Wilson quit as HP's EMEA brand and company communications director before the Compaq merger.

The personnel changes follow Dell's late-July expansion of its relationship with GCI Group to EMEA. Last summer, GCI won Dell's consolidated $2 million Americas account. In Europe, the firm will replace some 20 local agencies in 16 countries, a move Neeld said would cut costs 25% to 30%, while netting about $1 million annually for GCI. Ogilvy PR, which last year was put in charge of coordinating the now-scrapped agency network, will continue handling Dell's corporate and financial PR in the EMEA region.

Jeff Hunt, CEO of GCI Read-Poland in Austin and a former COO of Burson-Marsteller's European operation, played a key role in globalizing the Dell account. "He's got a very nice global perspective," said Neeld, while describing GCI's European chairman Adrian Wheeler as the deal's "main driving force."

Meanwhile in Austin last week, Dell denied rumors that corporate communications VP Elizabeth Allen might be replaced. Officials acknowledged that Dell sent out feelers for a global marketing and communications leader who might have outranked Allen, but they eventually called off the search.

"We periodically explore the outside market for strong senior talent that could potentially strengthen and enhance our internal capabilities," SVP of law and administration Tom Green said in a written statement. "Elizabeth Allen provides Dell with the most effective and strategic communications leadership for the company."

Similarly, Dell has not taken action on an agency review initiated late last year for corporate and chairman's communications, although for such products it continues to use various PR firms, including GCI and Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky.

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