Hargreaves takes reins at Bite after Credo deal

Bite Communications has acquired tech shop Credo Communications and installed its founder, David Hargreaves, as Bite MD.

The move strengthens Bite's B2B offering but raises the possibility of a tender for Credo client Check Point Software Technologies due to a conflict of interest.

Hargreaves started Credo in 2003 after quitting Firefly Communications, where he was deputy MD. He replaces Barry Leggetter as UK MD of the Next Fifteen-owned, 67-strong Bite.

Credo's three other staff – co-founder Nick Rappolt, ex-Herald Communications MD Stephanie McLeod and consultant Rob Taylor – transferred to Bite with Hargreaves this week. The Credo name has been scrapped.

Hargreaves has joined Bite's 'global executive leadership team'. He has been briefed to make the agency 'audience centric', with more emphasis on research into what influences target audiences.

Leggetter has been MD since 2004, when Sheryl Seitz – who joined Apple last year – made way for him as part of a management restructure (PRWeek, 17 September 2004). He will continue in his post as Bite group chairman.

The value and structure of the Credo deal has not been disclosed. In the year to 31 March 2005, Credo's fee income was £254,000.

Credo's clients include FTSE 100 accountancy software maker Sage, Barclays' small business subsidiary ClearlyBusiness and BBC Worldwide.

The acquisition could prove difficult for security software firm Check Point, which appointed Credo to handle its pan-European PR following a fallout with Firefly over fees. Bite was recently appointed by Check Point's much larger competitor Symantec.

On the prospect of a review, Check Point EMEA PR manager Margreet van Kinschot said: 'This is all open for discussion. It really depends on how the accounts are organised.'

Check Point provides firewall software for internet and intranet systems.

Symantec is the world's biggest software security firm and took on Bite last year following its acquisition of Veritas, for which Bite had handled UK PR.

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