RAC hires Ford’s Hale for legal and financial role

The RAC has poached Ford of Britain chief press officer Phillip Hale to oversee media relations for legal and financial services as it prepares to put its financial services account out to tender.

Hale joins as senior PR manager for consumer services and reports to RAC head of PR Rebecca Bell, who said that although Hale’s core responsibilities will be in financial and legal services, he will contribute to the company’s other businesses, such as RAC Auto Windscreens and the BSM driving school.

‘Ford also has a very varied portfolio of services, such as financial. It’s not just about selling cars,’ said Bell, adding that Hale’s contacts with the media were not restricted to the motoring sector.

Completing the financial services review initiated in March (PRWeek, 11 March) will be ‘uppermost on Phillip’s agenda’ according to Bell, after it was delayed when Hale’s predecessor Nina Arnott quit to become head of communications at South Eastern Trains (PRWeek, 16 April).

Hale will narrow the shortlist of agencies vying for the account to four. ‘I want to invite four agencies to pitch and we’ve currently got probably two more than I would like,’ Bell explained.

Incumbent agency Lansons Communications has been invited to repitch.

Bell added that communicating the RAC’s position to mainstream media on Sir David Clementi’s review of regulation of the legal services industry would also take up much of Hale’s time.

‘There are big opportunities around the corner because deregulation would mean that non-solicitor companies such as the RAC would be able to offer a wide range of legal services,’ Bell told PRWeek.

‘The RAC is at the forefront of pushing for deregulation,’ she added.

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