Siebel Systems counters bad press with PR change

US software firm Siebel Systems has appointed Bite Communications to run its UK corporate and tech PR.

The hire follows a four-way pitch. Incumbents of three years Hill & Knowlton, whose team was overseen by H&K head of corporate communications Sally Costerton, resigned the account and did not take part. Costerton told PRWeek at the time that ‘our mutual needs have changed’ (PRWeek, 2 July).

Bite has been given a brief worth £150,000 a year, which will cover Siebel’s UK corporate PR, media relations, product launches and reputation management.

Bite Communications director of corporate PR Chris Cartwright and director of tech PR Paul McKender will both report to Siebel’s senior director of EMEA PR Alison Campbell, who joined from competitor Oracle in January, and acting UK marketing director Ruth Rowan.

Cartwright said: ‘Customer Relationship Management (CRM) philosophy has taken a bashing lately. We will go back on the offensive through a re-education programme, and generally raise the profile.’

Siebel makes software that automates sales and customer service operations – such as that used in call centres of large corporations. Competitors are PeopleSoft and SAP.

Rowan said: ‘We wanted an agency to help us put PR back in the boardroom. There’s been negative press about CRM and we want to reverse that and generally have our story heard.’

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