Kids Company chair Alan Yentob's PR 'taken care of' by 'dear friend' at Edelman

Edelman's Ed Williams and Alex Bigg gave PR assistance to Kids Company chair Alan Yentob ahead of his appearance in front of a parliamentary select committee last week.

Select committee hearing: "My concern is not PR," said Yentob (right)
Select committee hearing: "My concern is not PR," said Yentob (right)

Sitting alongside Camila Batmanghelidjh, chief executive of the collapsed charity, Yentob faced a grilling from MPs on the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, in which Batmanghelidjh's performance was severely criticised.

Speaking to PRWeek directly after the meeting, Yentob said: "I'm being taken care of my a dear friend at Edelman, and my concern is not PR but early intervention on how to address the system of caring for these kids long-term."

Edelman has now confirmed that Yentob has been working with its UK and Ireland CEO Ed Williams and general manager Alex Bigg.

Williams spent four years as comms director at the BBC, where Yentob has held several roles including his current position as creative director.

Bigg said: "He is not a paying client, nor did he receive formal advice from us, just a light touch around procedure and dos and don'ts."

Yentob also told PRWeek that he was less worried about his own image and performance in front of the committee than he was about that of Batmanghelidjh. He said: "This [hearing] was not her forte. This whole ordeal has been very stressful on Camila and I'm more concerned about her."

During the hearing, Yentob himself took on the role of Batmanghelidjh’s PR man at times, attempting to shield her from harsh criticism and further damage to her reputation.

Yentob was more careful and remorseful in his responses to the MPs on the committee – in contrast to Batmanghelidjh's combativity. Yentob said: "I don't regret the number of lives we changed, but I do regret that we didn't make certain changes." Yentob was of course speaking about the dysfunctional internal structure of Kids Company.

Despite Batmanghelidjh attempting to demonstrate her passion for her cause and the children Kids Company worked with, Yentob seemingly did a better job of convincing the committee of his commitment. At the end of the session, chair Bernard Jenkin told Yentob: "I do not doubt your good faith."

Batmanghelidjh had previously spoken with PR firm 6 Hillgrove on an informal, non-contractual basis.

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