Ruder Finn has lost a pounds 300,000 slice of business from Microsoft
Europe, less than ten months after the agency was hired on a wide
ranging corporate and community affairs brief (PR Week, 22 September,
Working through its Paris office and reporting to Microsoft’s European
corporate affairs manager, Maria Eitel, Ruder Finn provided media
relations support for the company’s lobbying activities in Brussels,
community affairs initiatives, including the planned Road Ahead
Foundation in Germany - a pet project of Microsoft chairman Bill Gates -
and IT industry issues such as piracy and Internet security.
The work, handled by a team of five, accounted for more than three-
quarters of Ruder Finn’s total fees from Microsoft. The agency continues
to promote Microsoft software to the European retail market. That
tranche of the account, which is managed from London, is worth around
Lee Tomkins, Ruder Finn’s managing director of Europe, expressed
disappointment at the loss of the business but stressed that the parting
had been amicable. ‘It was all done by agreement,’ she said.
However, sources suggest that the agency encountered difficulties over
the direction of Microsoft’s communications policy. It remains unclear
if Microsoft intends to replace Ruder Finn. Corporate affairs manager
Delphine Reyre was unavailable for comment.