Burson-Marsteller has pulled off a coup by hiring former Kingfisher
corporate affairs director Nigel Whittaker as its UK chairman.
Whittaker, 49, who has been working as a public affairs consultant since
leaving Kingfisher in 1995, is a highly regarded PR operator. He joined
B-M this week and will work alongside its UK managing director and head
of the European financial communications practice, Paul Philpotts.
The job of UK chairman is a key one because of the size and importance
of the UK market to B-M, said Philpotts. Key clients include BT,
Unilever and Andersen Consulting. Philpotts has been running the London
office since the company’s conversion to a global client-led practice
structure last year.
Whittaker will have a seat on the B-M European board. He will be
responsible for attracting new business and overseeing the UK office’s
The former British Retail Consortium chairman has over 20 years
experience in senior management. He started his career as a legal
adviser and company secretary to Roche Products and British Sugar.
In 1982 he began a 13-year stint with Kingfisher which was to culminate
with a board position as executive director, corporate affairs at age
He managed Kingfisher’s successful defence to Dixon’s hostile bid in
1986 and undertook additional roles as human resources director for
Woolworths and chairman of B&Q. His salary rose to a reported pounds
However, in February last year Whittaker was ousted in a management
shake-up and set his own one-man-band consultancy offering public
affairs and corporate communications. He stated that, despite the B-M
job, he is still available to former clients who need advice.
’I have gone from the smallest consultancy in the world to the largest,’