B-M’s coup as it woos Whittaker to UK chair

Burson-Marsteller has pulled off a coup by hiring former Kingfisher corporate affairs director Nigel Whittaker as its UK chairman.

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

190 staff.



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

34.



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

400,000.



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,’

said Whittaker.



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