City & Corporate: Finsbury beats FD to easyJet account

EasyJet has handed the retained financial and corporate comms account to Finsbury after shaking up its in-house team with the appointment of a new comms director.

The UK's largest airline by passenger numbers had used FD since 2003, but changed advisers after a year in which a new CEO and director of comms joined the firm.

In October the airline recruited Paul Moore, previously comms and public affairs director at public transport firm FirstGroup, to its top comms job. He replaced Oliver Aust, who had only been in the role since September 2009 (PRWeek, 13 October).

The comms team changes mirror a shake-up at board level that saw Carolyn McCall, former boss of Guardian Media Group, become CEO in July.

The decision to review FD's account predates Moore's appointment, with PRWeek breaking the news of the pitch in August (PRWeek, 20 August).

Finsbury was invited to pitch for the retained corporate and financial business after supporting easyJet's media comms during this year's brand dispute court case with founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Finsbury's involvement will be led by partner Edward Simpkins. It is thought that FD and Finsbury were the only agencies asked to pitch.

The airline settled its dispute with Haji-Ioannou last month after agreeing to pay him 0.25 per cent of its annual profit to retain the 'easy' name. The dispute centred around the use of the 'easy' brand for travel extras, such as car rental and hotel bookings.

The firm is currently conducting a public campaign against rises in air passenger duty, claiming the rise, to £12 on flights within Europe, means the tax will have increased by 140 per cent since 2007.

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