Marconi plumps for H&K as global agency

Global telecoms giant Marconi's decision to hire its first global

PR agency stands to benefit Hill & Knowlton to the tune of at least

pounds 5m.

The agency bagged the work after a pitch stretching back to late last

year. The later stages are thought to have involved both

Burson-Marsteller and Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

Marconi's account is understood to be similar in size to rival Nortel's

brief for Fleishman-Hillard, at about pounds 7m. It will see H&K working

for the company in the 100 countries in which it serves customers.

The decision to hire one agency where previously there were dozens was

taken by chief marketing officer Jeffrey Brooks and V-P media relations

Mel Foster.

It was based on changes to Marconi over the last two years. The former

GEC subsidiary is now a standalone company which made sales of more than

pounds 6bn last year. It has sold all its defence arms to BAE Systems

and is listed on the London and Nasdaq stock exchanges.

Marconi has divided itself into three divisions: Networks, which sells

telecoms equipment to land-based telecoms firms; Wireless, which sells

equipment to mobile operators; and Enterprise, which covers anything

Marconi sells to organisations which do not have a government


The two-year account for H&K aims to communicate the changes globally.

It is led by president Paul Taaffe and UK board director Sally


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