United Utilities has ended its relationships with Luther Pendragon
and Lowe Bell Political following the shake-up of its communications
Lowe Bell Political has worked on United Utilities’ public affairs
account for three years, while Luther Pendragon was brought in
two-and-a-half years ago to handle issues management.
Luther Pendragon chief executive George Pitcher said he understood the
rationale behind the decision: ’The utilities have been through a highly
political period which has now ended so it’s logical for us to be stood
The company has survived a turbulent period, tackling ’fat cat’
criticism, regulatory reviews and boardroom in-fighting. Chief executive
Brian Staples quit the company last July to be replaced by Derek Green.
In August chairman Sir Desmond Pitcher was forced to step down and was
replaced by Sir Christopher Harding.
Group director of communications John Drummond explained that the
company had recently completed a review of communications needs with the
merging of the PR departments of United Utilities’ subsidiaries North
West Water and Norweb Distribution (PR Week, 30 January 1998).
’We formed a single flexible team and this will improve our efficiency,’
Drummond said. ’In practice this will mean we are less dependent on
Drummond added that he expects to reduce the total in-house team. It is
understood that a small number of posts in the communications department
have been axed.