News in brief

Royals: Clarence House has denied press reports this week that Prince William is to get his own press secretary. However, a spokesperson confirmed that a search is under way for an assistant press secretary to provide media relations support to Princes Charles, William and Harry.

The hire will replace Patrick Harrison, who was promoted to press secretary earlier this month.

Connecticut: Former Burson-Marsteller US chief executive Chet Burchett is to join Reed Exhibitions North America in mid-February. Burchett, who quit B-M earlier this month (PRWeek, 16 January), will join as president.

Consumer PR: Virgin Balloon Flights has drafted in The Drum Consultancy as its first PR agency. Drum will handle work including press trips, stunts and media partnerships for the firm.

Technology: Peoplesoft, the world’s second-largest business software maker, has opted to continue to retain Insight Marketing & Communications following a pitch at the end of last year (PRWeek, 20 November 2003). Insight will report to Peoplesoft marketing director Jennifer Griffin, who joins in February.

New York: Wall Street Journal senior editor Kyle Pope has joined ECD Insight, a corporate comms consultancy with offices in New York, Paris and London, as a senior partner in New York.

Consumer PR: Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific has hired Rowland Communications as its first consumer PR agency in the UK for four years after a competitive pitch (PRWeek, 16 January). Rowland, which has been retained by Cathay in France for seven years, will also work on crisis response for the airline.

Agency alliance: Boston-based IR and life sciences shop Fitzgerald Communications and European media relations, marketing research and event management firm WhiteOaks International have formalised a joint pitching and fee-sharing arrangement. The two firms announced their strategic alliance, which has been running for three months, last week, and are working together on accounts including telecoms firm Mahindra British Telecom.

Price increase: PRWeek’s cover price will increase to £2.75 from this week. This is the first price rise since September 2002.

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