WASHINGTON DC: Edelman PR Worldwide is hot favorite to win the prestigious contract to review the International Monetary Fund's global strategy.
The IMF has interviewed a number of agencies for the five to six month contract, and recently shortlisted Edelman, Hill & Knowlton and Porter Novelli International.
According to IMF spokesman Bill Murray, all three are still in the running, but reliable sources said the contract would be officially awarded to Edelman in the next 10 days. Although the work is worth only $200,000, it is seen as a highly prestigious contract.
Murray said the IMF wants 'to take a look at its overall communications strategy, not just media relations. We need to know what perceptions have been created over the last 18 months, and how we deal with the mis-perceptions,' he added.
One senior PR pundit said it would be one of the toughest jobs Edelman has ever taken on. 'You have to feel for the IMF. They are always seen as the big bad guys. The rapidity of crises they have to deal with is phenomenal. In 1994 it was South America, then it was Mexico, then Argentina, now there is total global malaise.'
The IMF's remit is to supervise the world's monetary system and to provide loans and technical assistance, should any of its 182 member countries experience financial difficulties. But in the last 18 months, global financial meltdown has meant the IMF pouring money into East Asia, Russia and South America, with limited evidence of any resulting economic stabilization.
In addition, governments are questioning their increasing contributions to the fund, while development charities are pressing for greater action to reduce world poverty.