HP set to drop Porter Novelli

Porter Novelli is set to lose a £1m-plus portfolio of PR accounts with its key client Hewlett Packard (HP).

The computer giant is believed to be on the hunt for a replacement agency as it completes a review of its PR support.

The account is understood to be so significant that Porter Novelli may have to shed some of its staff.

Porter Novelli account staff working primarily on the business have already started hunting for new roles, according to insiders.

One London agency MD said he received five CVs at the end of last week from Porter Novelli staffers on the HP team, at every level from director to account executive. Recruitment firms in London have also been sending the CVs of Porter Novelli staff to rival agencies, citing the loss of HP as the reason for seeking new employment.

HP denied that it has parted ways with Porter Novelli, instead claiming it is ‘reviewing its PR agencies as part of a regular cycle’. The company’s UK corporate marketing manager Gary Allden dismissed the claims as ‘speculation’.

Porter Novelli declined to add to HP’s comments.

But tech experts close to HP have told PRWeek that Porter Novelli will no longer work on the account, which is believed to be its largest and most lucrative.

‘Officially, of course, there has been no decision, but in this case the speculation is correct,’ said one senior agency source. ‘Obviously HP has given Porter Novelli a steer as to whether it is a review or is a termination.’

Another source close to the account claimed Porter Novelli has a fraught relationship with HP. ‘There has been bad blood for some time,’ said the source.

Porter Novelli’s work for HP has included an art tour co-sponsored by the National Gallery this summer.

If a shift to another agency takes place, PROs working primarily on the HP account may be eligible for transfer under the TUPE law (PRWeek, 31 October).

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