Surprise review of BA public affairs account

British Airways is reviewing its public affairs account, six months after having awarded it to Brunswick and two months after Robert Webb QC joined the company to head its legal, regulatory and government affairs team.

British Airways is reviewing its public affairs account, six months

after having awarded it to Brunswick and two months after Robert Webb QC

joined the company to head its legal, regulatory and government affairs

team.



British Airways is understood to have told agencies of the repitch this

week and will receive presentations in a matter of days.



The company’s public affairs brief covers parliamentary monitoring,

political media relations and strategic advice on Governmental and

regulatory issues facing both British Airways and its recently launched

’no frills’ airline, Go.



Brunswick reports to BA chief executive Bob Ayling and to communications

director and former Brunswick partner, Simon Walker. Walker was

appointed last April after the sudden departure of Kevin Murray, the

architect of BA’s drive to improve internal communications and boost

staff morale.



The new agency is also expected to report to Webb, who answers directly

to Ayling and whose function was previously handled by Ken Walder, who

left last summer.



BA appointed Brunswick earlier this year after a pitch against APCO UK,

Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn and GPC, overseen by parliamentary affairs

manager Jane Johnston (PR Week, 10 July 1998). GPC handled BA’s public

affairs before Brunswick.



BA used to employ Bell Pottinger Communications on a retainer but it is

now understood to use the agency for special projects.



- Former GPC managing director, Mike Craven this week launched his own

public affairs consultancy, Lexington Communications. Craven handled the

BA account while at GPC. Since leaving the firm in January he has worked

as the Labour Party’s chief media spokesman. He will head the agency,

which employs six people, jointly with his co-partner and former GPC

director Ian Kennedy.



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