Beck lands Marconi senior comms post

Troubled telecoms equipment maker Marconi took steps to salvage its

battered public image this week with the appointment of David Beck to

its top comms post.



Beck, currently on notice as MD of Bell Pottinger's financial PR

operation, will join the former industrial behemoth in the next three

months, when a succession plan can be worked out at the Chime-owned City

PR firm.



He moves into the full-time comms director role after three months

heading the Marconi account team for Bell Pottinger, the agency drafted

in last autumn in place of incumbent Brunswick (PRWeek, 12 October

2001).



The firm was hired as part of a eview that saw fresh bankers appointed

shortly after CEO Mike Parton took control. A new chairman, Derek

Bonham, was appointed at the same time.



Parton, formerly a Marconi board director, replaced Lord Simpson as CEO

after he was forced to quit following the disastrous attempt to reinvent

what was once the pride of British manufacturing into a tech-savvy

modern firm.



This strategy left Marconi without its cash cow arms business - which it

sold off - but with a raft of unprofitable acquisitions, bought at the

top of the market in 1999, that left the company almost crippled with

debt.



Beck will report to Parton, and will take control of a staff of more

than 30. His remit includes overseeing the press office, external

affairs, internal comms, public affairs and financial PR. The financial

function retains control of IR - a crucial discipline given the decline

in Marconi's share price over the past year.



Marconi has been without a top-level in-house communicator since early

last year when Charlie Foreman moved out of PR into a wider sales

role.



He has since left the company, leaving former Xerox EMEA PR chief Joe

Kelly as head of media relations.



Beck, who has been at Bell Pottinger or one of its predecessor firms for

more than 15 years, said: 'This is a broader role than I've filled to

date. The scale of the challenge is not in doubt. The task is nothing

less than to rebuild the company's credibility.'



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