BT makes Brussels its European PR platform

BT has moved its European public affairs and PR operation from London to Brussels to be 'at the heart of Europe'.

The shift is part of the company's preparation for the arrival of G3 telecommunications licences, and consolidation of European strategy with its wholly-owned companies and strategic partners in Holland, Germany, France, Spain and other EU member countries.

Chris Philipsborn has been appointed the new head of European public affairs. He takes charge of co-ordinating the move and ensuring a consistent brand message across the continent.

Philipsborn replaces London-based Linda Porter, who is leaving to start her own corporate entertainment company. She has been with BT for 14 years.

BT's reasoning for the move of its European public affairs and PR operations is to forge closer ties with EU watchers, such as journalists and lobbyists.

It is also believed to be a move to erase concerns that may be seen as projecting a UK-centric standpoint.

'I will be appointing a public affairs manager for the Brussels office,' said Philipsborn, who was formerly the head of the Law Society's parliamentary unit before joining BT three years ago.

'My office will work alongside the BT European regulatory affairs team. We will be dealing with political and legal developments surrounding the European telecoms industry, and dealing with issues arising from the consolidation with strategic partners,' he added.

Philipsborn joins three other senior mangers from the firm's group communications department at the rue Montoyer offices in the Belgian capital.

He said his department would not be working within 'a European Commission remit'. He will report to BT's director of public affairs in group communications, Sandy Wilkinson.

Porter, meanwhile is stepping down after six years at the helm of European public affairs, and has formed her own company, Michael Cochrane Productions, with actors Michael Cochrane and Sarah Kimm.

'We will be providing themed entertainment for corporate clients,' said Porter, who began working with a small repertory of West End actors and musicians five years ago following a request by a Brussels-based BT colleague to provide entertainment for his senior European contacts.

BT's dedicated UK press and public affairs offices remain unaffected by the changes.

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