August.One sheds tech focus

PR holding group Next Fifteen Communications has shifted the entire Microsoft UK B2B PR account along with 20 staff out of August.One Communications and into its tech shop Inferno Communications.

The shift halves the headcount of August.One as Next Fifteen ends the agency’s legacy as a tech shop and opts to market Inferno as its tech offering instead.

Inferno’s clients include Computer Associates, Capgemini and Northgate Information Solutions. August.One is now positioned as a consumer and B2B shop.

The move comes as August.One founder and joint MD Stuart Handley, who worked on the Microsoft account for ten years, leaves the agency to become MD corporate communications at Hill & Knowlton.

Microsoft head of PR Hugh Davies said: ‘Consolidation makes sense for us. It should provide clarity, drive integration and create efficiencies.’ But he added that there were no plans for further consolidation of a roster that includes The Red Consultancy and Edelman.

Barry Leggetter, chairman of Next Fifteen agency Bite Communications, takes on additional responsibility as managing partner of Inferno.

Inferno MD Grant Currie becomes senior partner. August.One technology heads Mark Jackson and James Tutt become directors.

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