News round-up: Frank PR, Universal Music Group and Ketchum

In this week's news round-up: fitness brand Les Mills has brought in Frank PR as its first UK PR agency, Universal Music Group has appointed Will Tanous as head of global comms and Ketchum has made Jo-ann Robertson its youngest partner.

Les Mills: trying to boost profile

Les Mills, the training programmes creator, has tasked Frank PR with boosting its profile and launching a range of products. The brand is named after former New Zealand Olympian, Les Mills.

SaVse, a new vegetable smoothie brand, has appointed Instinct PR to handle its PR and social media for 12 months.

Frends, the fashion electronics accessory brand, has appointed Shine Sport Style to support the roll-out of its new range of fashion headphones.

PR Agency One has been engaged by medical negligence law firm Fletchers Solicitors to deliver a PR campaign, as part of a wider national marketing strategy.

Cogent Elliott has recruited Tim Gearey from Big Communications as PR director.  

Liquidity Finance, an investment firm focused on emerging markets, has called in Curzon PR to handle media relations.

Mills & Reeve, the law firm, has brought in Man Bites Dog as its retained PR agency.

A memorial service for former PRCA chairman and CIPR president Doug Smith will be held at 3.30-5pm on 18 April in the Cholmondeley Room at the House of Lords.


The week in global PR

Universal Music Group has hired Warner Music Group’s Will Tanous in the newly created role of executive vice-president and head of global comms. He starts on 15 April.

Publicis Groupe has promoted Stephane Estryn to director of mergers and acquisitions.

Oxfam America is working with Global Strategy Group to raise awareness of poverty in the US. The campaign ?is called Voices on US Poverty: Right the Wrong.

Ray Kerins, former vice-president of external affairs and worldwide comms at Pfizer, has joined Bayer in the newly created position of senior vice-president and head of comms and public affairs.

The Health Promotion Board in Singapore has called a pitch to implement an integrated public relations and consumer marketing plan. The chosen agency will conceptualise, plan and manage work, with a view to securing unpaid media coverage.

Underwriters Laboratories, the product safety testing and certification company, has selected Hill+Knowlton Strategies as its global PR agency following a competitive review. A team based in Chicago is leading the account, with assistance from the agency’s offices in China, India and Japan.

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The week in healthcare

Omron Healthcare Europe has appointed André van Gils as its new chief executive and president, effective immediately. Van Gils has been promoted from his role of chief operating officer and replaces Kenji Eda, who is moving to a global role within the company.

Alcon, the global eyecare firm, has drafted in 90Ten Healthcare to support a contact lens product in the UK and Ireland that mimics the water content of the eye. The agency will first target eyecare professionals, before engaging with consumers.

Leading cancer charities, including Cancer Research UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, have raised concerns about future access to life-extending drugs after a dedicated fund ends in 2014. The Government’s £650m Cancer Drugs Fund will end next year, but plans for a replacement are not yet clear. The Department of Health has vowed that new arrangements will be put in place.

Just Health PR has poached Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s parliamentary assistant, Lydia Manley-Cooper, to work in its public affairs team. She reports to Jon Spiers, head of political relations.


The public sector week

NHS Alliance has hired Salix Consulting to manage its comms and member engagement. The open-ended appointment follows an initial six-month contract to refresh the positioning of the 15-year-old organisation, which unites clinicians, managers and patients with an interest in primary healthcare.

The UK Border Agency’s comms team has been fully integrated into the Home Office, with ‘the need for efficiencies’ being considered, PRWeek can reveal. The transfer follows the announcement that the agency would be split up. A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We will keep under review the need for any efficiencies that could be made in the longer term.’

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has warned councils against giving pay-offs ‘to silence departing staff’. His words follow claims by The Daily Telegraph that nearly 5,000 public servants may have been given pay-offs involving gagging orders.

Kent’s police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes has suggested the scandal over tweets posted by Paris Brown, the UK’s first youth police and crime commissioner, could prompt closer social media scrutiny of police employees. She said the failure to check the 17-year-old’s Twitter account before she was given the £15,000-a-year role could be ‘a lesson for the future’.


The week in The City

Hudson Sandler has created a digital strategy division led by corporate and brand managing director Kirsty Leighton and comprising web designers, graphic designers, video producers and SEO experts. The division will offer technical, strategic and creative comms, delivering website and apps, video content, creative digital campaigns, technical SEO projects and social media campaigns.

Partnership, a UK annuities specialist understood to be preparing a London listing, has hired Lee Blackwell as its first head of PR to build further understanding of the brand among business and consumer audiences. Blackwell most recently worked at Wriglesworth Communications as a director. The company has also appointed the Local Government Association’s Caroline Jackson as public affairs manager. 

Hearthstone Investments, meanwhile, has chosen The Wriglesworth Consultancy as its retained PR agency. The specialist fund manager launched the UK’s first FSA authorised residential property investment fund last year.

Elephant Communications has appointed Emma Villiers as consultant director. She was previously investor relations and comms manager at FTSE250 mining firm Ferrexpo.


The week in lobbying

Ketchum has made Jo-ann Robertson, managing director of its UK corporate and public affairs practice, its youngest partner at the age of 33. She is one of nine new partners across the world, taking the total number at Ketchum to 78.

David Skelton has left Policy Exchange to launch a campaign group aimed at broadening the appeal of the Conservative Party to working class and ethnic minority voters, predominantly in the North and the Midlands. Skelton joined the think-tank in 2011 as deputy director.  

Deryn, a Wales-based public affairs agency, has recruited Siobhan Corria as an associate, supporting its work with Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay, RNIB Cymru, NIACE and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Corria was elected in May 2012 as councillor for Llandaff North and is chair of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee at Cardiff Council.

Simon McVicker has been re-elected as the chair of the CIPR’s Public Affairs Group for a 12-month term. Other newly elected members include Hy Consulting’s Jane Bowles and John Letizia from Unum, as vice-chairs. Sarah McMonagle from the Federation of Master Builders has been appointed secretary, while Cicero Consulting’s Ben Stafford has taken on the role of treasurer.

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