LONDON: GE Capital, the financial services arm of global behemoth General Electric, is reviewing its European PR - a move that could leave long-standing incumbent Hill & Knowlton out in the cold.
LONDON: GE Capital, the financial services arm of global behemoth
General Electric, is reviewing its European PR - a move that could leave
long-standing incumbent Hill & Knowlton out in the cold.
H&K has been asked to repitch for the business and will compete against
a shortlist of firms said to include Shandwick, GCI Group and
Countrywide Porter Novelli.
H&K has held the account for seven years. The current account team is
headed by corporate and consumer finance group MD Ash Coleman-Smith, who
reports to UK chairman David McLaren.
GE Capital’s PR account will be expanded somewhat from H&K’s current
charge (the firm currently runs the company’s UK press office and
handles European business-to-business communications). The account will
now be pan-European, covering product and consumer PR for everything
from the company’s in-store credit card division to its insurance and
Valerie Di Maria, GE Capital’s Stamford, CT-based VP of PR and
advertising, stressed that H&K was still the company’s lead agency in
the US, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Di Maria plans to
come to the UK in the next two months to direct the pitch process.
H&K also works for some of GE Capital’s 28 individual business units on
a project basis. These associations, however, are not under review.
Since GE Capital maintains no in-house PR staffers in the UK, H&K has
until now been reporting directly to Di Maria in the US.
GE Capital is the most profitable performer in General Electric’s
portfolio of businesses. The financial subsidiary, which announced in
January that annual profits had exceeded dollars 9 billion for the first
time, is responsible for over half of General Electric’s total profits
and 40% of its sales.
GE Capital employs more than 80,000 staffers worldwide.