Chevron has confirmed it will not sever relations with the other WPP-owned agencies it uses across disciplines following its termination of contracts with Ogilvy PR and Ogilvy Government Relations.
The multinational energy giant ended its relationship with Ogilvy following the revelation that a member of its staff, Felipe Benitez, an account director at Ogilvy PR, gave a presentation last month to Amazon Watch on environmental defense strategic communications.
Chevron works with Ogilvy sister WPP agencies across a number of areas including, but not limited to, PR firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies, advertising agency Y&R, media agency MEC, and brand consultancy The Partners.
Dave Samson, general manager of public affairs at Chevron, told PRWeek: “We have a strong partnership with many different WPP entities and there is no reason to think those aren't going to continue.”
Amazon Watch advocates on behalf of indigenous peoples in the region and has been highly critical of Chevron, which is involved in an ongoing and long-standing multi-billion dollar lawsuit in Ecuador that claims the oil company's subsidiary Texaco was responsible for environmental damage in the country.
Samson refused to comment further on the dispute but reiterated the statement he released earlier on the conflict that led to the termination of the contracts with Ogilvy:
“It is clear some parties want to distort the facts to minimize the serious nature of the conflict that forced us to take this action. As has been reported, we uncovered a serious, material conflict of interest with Ogilvy.
“Our decision to terminate our relationship was not taken lightly. It's also important to note that our decision was in no way a reflection on the people at Ogilvy who worked day-to-day on our business. They were good partners. Any effort, by some, to minimize this issue is unfair to these people.”
Chris Graves, global CEO of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, declined to comment beyond the agency's previous statement that the issue was primarily a personnel matter.
The PR and government relations contracts formerly handled by Ogilvy will be absorbed into other agencies with which Chevron already works.