Bahrain passes brief on to Bell Pottinger

Weber Shandwick has lost a huge corporate account with the Government of Bahrain, with the business going to rival agency Bell Pottinger.

Bahrain: to be promoted as a financial centre
Bahrain: to be promoted as a financial centre

The Economic Development Board of Bahrain has appointed Bell Pottinger to handle its global FDI (foreign direct investment) media relations brief.

The account is understood to be worth a seven-figure sum annually. Weber Shandwick has held the account for just over a year.

Confirming the appointment, the board’s executive director marketing and communications Stephanie Wong stated: ‘We are delighted to have appointed Bell Pottinger to help with this important project for Bahrain’s future success.’

A key aspect of the brief will be to challenge the perception that Dubai has emerged as the primary financial centre for the region.

Bahrain is seen as one of the big three financial powerhouses in the Middle East, along with the emirate of Dubai, which primarily uses Tetra Strategy for PR, and Abu Dhabi, which last year handed a significant brief to Edelman.

Chime Communications chairman Lord Bell said:‘Bahrain is an outstanding country with many advantages for businesses wishing to access the whole of the GCC [Gulf Co-operation Council] region. We are building on the firm foundations set by the previous incumbent.’

Bell Pottinger has established a new office in the country to help serve the business and complement its existing regional bases in Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It will also use elements of the Weber Shandwick network in the US.

Additionally, one individual at the associate director level has transferred from Weber Shandwick to Bell Pottinger under the TUPE rules, which came into effect last year.

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