Fosters UK brewer to extend GPC remit

Britain's largest brewer, Scottish & Newcastle, is to extend its

Brussels public affairs contract with GPC across Europe.



S&N, the company behind Fosters and Kronenbourg in the UK, is to widen

the pounds 200,000 GPC remit to include the UK and France following

recent hires at the agency.



Richard Gibb, the director of corporate affairs at the Edinburgh-based

brewer, said no contract had yet been signed, but that he had narrowed

the shortlist to one name.



'Since the nature of our business has changed, we have reviewed our

public affairs account, which was previously held by Bell Pottinger

Public Affairs,' he said.



GPC London MD Kevin Bell is in the frame to run the account, as he did

at Bell Pottinger where he worked until last summer (PRWeek, 7 July

2000).



Corporate affairs manager Linda Bain denied Bell's move played any role

in the likely account move, but Bell Pottinger's notice coincided with

his departure, and with that of fellow account handler Nick Williams,

who also moved to GPC.



The review, by the then public affairs head Chris Lowe, resulted in Bell

Pottinger not repitching.



Agencies that did pitch included Grayling Political Strategy, Hill &

Knowlton and Fishburn Hedges.



Bain said the company did not plan to review its account with fellow

Chime Communications division Smithfield Financial, which handles the

FTSE 100 firm's financial PR.



At S&N, no successor to Lowe has been appointed, although Philip Rycroft

has joined the company as acting head of public affairs on secondment

from the Scottish Executive.



S&N is Europe's second largest brewer, after Heineken, following last

year's takeover of the brewing interests of French giant Danone, the

acquisition of Belgium's Alken Maes and a 49 per cent share in Portugese

beer company Central de Cervejas.



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