GE Capital European PR put up for tender

GE Capital, the financial services arm of industrial giant General Electric, is reviewing its European PR account.

GE Capital, the financial services arm of industrial giant General

Electric, is reviewing its European PR account.



Long-standing incumbent Hill and Knowlton has been asked to repitch for

the work, along with a shortlist understood to include Shandwick, GCI

and Countrywide Porter Novelli. H&K has held the account for seven years

with the current account team overseen by Ash Coleman-Smith, the

managing director of H&K’s corporate and consumer finance group, who

reports to UK chairman David McLaren.



H&K runs GE Capital’s UK press office, as well as handling European

business-to-business communications. The company has no financial PR

requirement in the UK, since it is listed on the New York stock

exchange.



PR Week understands the remit for the tendered work will be

pan-European, covering product and consumer PR for everything from the

company’s in-store credit card division to its insurance and banking

subsidiaries.



Valerie Di Maria, GE Capital’s Stamford, Connecticut-based

vice-president for PR and advertising, stressed that H&K was still the

company’s ’lead agency’ in the US, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Di

Maria plans to come to the UK in the next two months to stage the pitch

process.



H&K also works for some of GE Capital’s 28 individual business units on

a project basis. These associations are not under review. The company

maintains no in-house PR function within the UK, so H&K has until now

been reporting to Di Maria in the US.



GE Capital is the most profitable aspect of General Electric’s portfolio

of businesses. The company announced in January that annual profits had

exceeded pounds 6 billion for the first time.



The company is responsible for over half of General Electric’s total

profits and 40 per cent of its sales. GE Capital employs more than

80,000 staff worldwide.



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