Global round-up

BELLEVUE, WA: Online travel company Expedia.com is reviewing its PR agency requirements in the US, with an agency hire looming before the end of the year. Edelman, Expedia’s retained US agency for seven years, is participating in the review.

HAMBURG: Internet service provider AOL has appointed Mathias Hajek to its top PR role in Germany. Hajek starts as communications director in January, replacing Marc-Sven Kopka, who will move to London to become vice-president, corporate communications, for AOL Europe (PRWeek, 28 November). Among other roles, Hajek has formerly worked in the PR division at comdirect bank.

NEW YORK: Edelman has hired Andrew Merrill, a former managing director at Abernathy MacGregor Group, as global managing director of its financial practice. He replaces Hollis Rafkin-Sax, who quit

after four years to join Financial Dynamics (PRWeek, 7 November).

MUNICH: Viagra-maker Pfizer has appointed wbpr Munich to handle media relations surrounding erectile dysfunction. The agency scooped the account following a pitch against ECC, Ahrens & Behrent, Hill & Knowlton and Fleishman-Hillard (Frankfurt). The latter agency, however, retains a

contract for the medical and scientific press.

KRONBERG: The Namibia Tourism Board has drafted in Kleber PR to handle press and PR work in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Kronberg-based agency has handled PR for South African Tourism since 1999. The board hired BGB & Associates to handle its PR in the UK and Ireland two months ago (PRWeek, 10 October).

SAN FRANCISCO: Fleishman-Hillard has named Curt Kundred as West Coast president to oversee the San Francisco, LA, Portland, San Diego and Sacramento offices. Kundred is a senior partner and general manager of the San Francisco office and fills a role that has been vacant since Doug Michelman quit to join Visa USA a year ago (PRWeek, 13 December 2002).

SAO PAULO: The National

Association of Private Hospitals, a body that represents 28 private Brazilian hospitals, has appointed Imagem Corporativa to handle its PR. The three-year-old organisation has not formerly retained a PR agency. Imagem will handle media relations and internal comms, and will also provide media training services and produce website content.

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