Countrywide Porter Novelli has appointed a new CEO. He is Neil
Backwith, formerly strategic development director at the
The position was previously held by Peter Hehir. He continues as
chairman of CPN and Porter Novelli International, the largest owned
network of agencies in Europe. Hehir’s role will now have more of an
According to Backwith, the main reason for his appointment was due to
the differing nature of the UK and international businesses. ’CPN is
very well established in the UK, whereas the European business is much
younger and fast-growing,’ he said.
Backwith will also continue with his strategic development role. He told
PR Week that in the UK, there will be a focus on further developing
CPN’s specialist practice areas such as healthcare. There will also be
new practice areas launching within the next few months.
’But even though there will be a change in the structure of the
business, the core values and directions will stay very much the same,’
Backwith, 48, spent 11 years as managing director of CPN’s advertising
interests. He joined the company in 1982, after working in marketing for
- Diane VandenBerg, director of marketing at CPN, is to leave in the
autumn to start her own consultancy. It will advise companies on
partnerships with the arts, and be called VandenBerg 2.