The Week in City & Corporate

PRCA leaders support M&S CEO, Bellwether report highlights financial services' success.

Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose has been given the backing of a panel of leading City advisers in the week that his company, which is in downturn, gave him a vote of confidence. Shareholder criticism was deemed 'unfair' by 85 per cent of the PRCA Leaders' Panel. More than two-thirds of the panel thought Rose's good relationship with the media had stopped the City from being more aggressive than it has been.

Financial services was the only marcoms sector that grew in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest Bellwether marketing report. In the 'all other' marketing sector, which includes PR, budgets were cut up to 20 per cent across the board. Financial services seemed to weather the storm, with analysts suggesting companies were increasingly turning to corporate and financial PR during a difficult economic period.

The Cardew Group is advising Somerfield as The Co-operative Group gets closer to securing the supermarket chain for up to £1.6bn.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson has been appointed by IT services firm Patni to support its plans for growth in Europe. Citigate is working on a B2B and corporate PR programme. The agency reports to European marketing director Jeremy Mackinlay.

Braemar Shipping ServiceS has hired Pelham PR as its financial PR adviser. Braemar Shipping Services is a £100m London Stock Exchange listed company providing shipbroking and consulting services to the global shipping industry.

Pelham PR is also advising Leeds-based Imperial Energy as it enters talks that could lead to a £1bn takeover bid. Discussions are understood to be taking place between the state-controlled Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India and the board of Imperial, which is a member of the FTSE 250 and has its head office in London.

Harrods has moved Mohamed Al Fayed's director of press and public affairs to group director of PR at the firm. Katherine Witty worked for Al Fayed during the Diana trial.

Russia's Association of European Businesses has elected Mmd V-P Ursula Colgan as chair of the new PR and comms committee.

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