Rolls-Royce hires BPPA to step up lobbying

Rolls-Royce, the FTSE-100 aerospace and defence firm, has hired Bell Pottinger Public Affairs in its bid to boost government relations and attract more research and development funding for the industry.

Ten-year incumbent Citigate Public Affairs is understood to be among four other agencies to have pitched for the business.

Rolls-Royce joint director of UK government relations Mike McLaughlin said BPPA will conduct a four- to six-week audit to gauge whether it has the ‘right government connections’, and then ‘map out a strategy’.

Issues BPPA will lobby on include the Department of Trade and Industry’s implementation of the Innovation and Growth Team Report, which sets out the Government’s 20-year vision for the aerospace industry and makes recommendations to achieve this vision.

The agency will also seek to secure export credit guarantees, which act as an insurance for companies exporting to high-risk destinations.

Rolls-Royce hired Josephine Cook this month from the DTI to act as joint government relations director, alongside McLaughlin.

BPPA MD Peter Bingle will lead the account with directors Tim Walker, Luke Chauveau and Rhoda MacDonald.

Rolls-Royce’s first half profits rose by 11 per cent, but the company has shed 20 per cent of its workforce – 8,500 people – in the two years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, due to a decline in engine orders.

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