Car manufacturer Rover Group is restructuring its internal
communications in the wake of its acquisition by the Phoenix consortium
Former Rover product communications director Gordon Poynter has been
appointed director of corporate communications at the business, which
was sold to Phoenix by BMW for a nominal pounds 10 sum.
The Rover Group used to have four brands. However, following the sale of
Land Rover to Ford and the end of Mini production in September Poynter
is left with two: Rover itself and MG. The Mini brand remains the
property of BMW.
Uncertainty surrounds the exact split between the 30-strong
communications team that BMW had in the UK prior to the sales of Rover
and Land Rover.
But there is industry speculation that both BMW and Land Rover will take
teams of ten each.
Poynter refused to confirm the size of his team or to whom he would
’We are not going to rush into arrangements. We want to be a bit
different, to be a bit radical in some ways,’ he said.
Rover has already indicated that it will cut its spend on advertising
and concentrate on cost-effective PR. ’It’s a good message for the PR
world,’ Poynter insisted. ’The function of communications is seen by the
consortium and the chief executive of Rover Group (Kevin Howe) as very
In PR terms, Rover will be promoted as ’a mainstream, valued British
brand’, said Poynter. His remit will also cover media relations,
internal communications, and lobbying.
Poynter said there are no plans ’at this stage’ to change Rover’s
existing outside agency, Harrison Cowley, which handles regional and
Ludgate, which was retained by the Phoenix consortium after successful
involvement in the purchase from BMW, also reports to Poynter. Rove did
use R-JH PR on a consumer brief from September last year until March
when the agency resigned the account.
Rover aims to produce 200,000 cars a year at its Longbridge plant.
- Meanwhile, Gavin Green, currently director of public affairs for Ford
of Britain, will become global director of communications and public
affairs for Land Rover. He will report to chairman and CEO Bob Dover.
Ford has yet to announce a replacement.