Avis Europe calls halt to FD’s seven-year reign

Car rental firm Avis Europe has ended its seven-year relationship with Financial Dynamics and brought in Brunswick to handle its financial PR. The appointment comes as Avis Europe prepares to usher in new chief executive Murray Hennessy from John Lewis on 1 May.

According to investor relations and comms manager Hilary White, FD held the account since the company’s flotation in 1997. ‘The car rental industry has had a tough year. The [financial PR] brief involves strengthening relationships with analysts and investors,’ she said.

Avis Europe blamed the global travel market slowdown in part for its 51 per cent slide in underlying pre-tax profits for 2003, down from 122.3m euros (£83.4m) to 59.4m euros (£40.5m). The fall was also attributed to continued losses at its Budget operation.

Brunswick will be expected to present Hennessy to the financial markets and media. The agency was appointed to the business – for an undisclosed fee – after discussions with FD and one other agency. Brunswick partners Susan Gilchrist and Angus Prentice lead the account and report to Avis finance director Martyn Smith.

Avis is Europe’s largest car rental firm. Belgian car distributor D’Ieteren owns 59 per cent of Avis Europe.

Its director of corporate comms Chris Wermann joined Kellogg’s as European PR chief last week.

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