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
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.