BA is set to stage a competitive pitch next month to pick a
consumer agency for the London Eye, the millennium ferris wheel
dominating the capital’s skyline.
The annual brief, for which credentials were presented this week, will
report to BA media relations manager Kate Gay. She has been seconded for
more than a year to the Eye which, despite opening delays and early
safety concerns, has managed largely to avoid negative press
’We need an agency to handle the interest generated so far and continue
the momentum,’ said Gay .
The Eye has permission to remain in place until 2005, but BA hopes its
soaring popularity will ensure it becomes a fixture on the Thames.
The positive public response to the wheel has been a rare plus for BA,
which has been beset by problems recently. Last month chief executive
Robert Ayling resigned while BA recorded a pounds 60 million loss in the
final quarter of 1999. In a bid to restore company confidence, the
airline has hired Andrew Cahn to fill the newly-created post of
Government and industry affairs director. Reporting to general counsel
Robert Webb QC, Cahn assumes his post in June.
A civil servant with 20 years experience, Cahn joins BA from the
European Commission, where he has headed vice-president Neil Kinnock’s
private office for three years.
Public affairs previously fell within corporate affairs director David
Holmes’ remit until his retirement more than a year ago. Robert Webb has
managed the area since then.
Cahn comes to the brief as BA enters sensitive discussions on alliances,
mergers, landing slots at US airports and other aspects of competition
policy. Although his reporting line heads to the legal department, Cahn
will try to influence Government decisions, working closely with
communications director Simon Walker.