NEW YORK: International accounting firm Ernst and Young has parted
ways with the Weber Group and handed its pounds 1 million US public
relations account to Hill and Knowlton.
The shift comes a year after Ernst and Young chose the Weber Group to
consolidate its divisions under one global brand, an account understood
to be worth almost pounds 1.5 million. The company is in the process of
selling its consulting arm for an estimated pounds 7 billion.
Ernst and Young sent out a request for proposals to eight PR firms in
early April, before narrowing the list to H&K, Manning, Selvage and Lee
Reporting to Ernst and Young director of PR Larry Parnell, H&K will
handle corporate positioning and media relations for Ernst and Young’s
tax, audit and corporate finance groups in North America.
Parnell hinted that the agency will also get the opportunity to handle
international work as it arises.
’Outside the US we use agencies on a project basis, but we need
consistency on global initiatives,’ he said.
Ernst and Young is the first of the ’big five’ accounting firms to shed
its consultancy arm, as professional services firms have come under
increasing scrutiny regarding the independence of their auditing and
Parnell denied that H&K’s victory was aided by Ken Kerrigan, a former
managing director at H&K who last month went to join Ernst and
The H&K team on the account will be led by senior managing director Anne
Wright, who reports to agency chairman Paul Taaffe.