INTERNATIONAL: PwC wins Nortel Networks review

RICHARDSON, TX: Top-five global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is moving into the PR agency selection business, and has been hired to handle Nortel Networks' comms review.

A mandatory three-year agency vendor review is underway as Nortel assesses its relationship with its agency of record Fleishman-Hillard, which is also taking part in the pitch.

Nortel refused to comment, but a source close to the review said the criteria outlined in the search emphasised the financial aspect of the account.

The RFP is said to include very little focus on communications strategy.

It is understood a dozen PR firms were asked to provide information based on the size and the scope of the agency.

Many have been surprised at Nortel's decision to hire PwC over dedicated search and selection firms. 'It would strike me as more financially driven than communications driven,' said Bogda Associates president Pete Bogda, who helps organise and run communications reviews for US companies.

Last November, Nortel suspended several PR programmes in the US, Europe and Asia and announced plans to review all PR activity in 2002. F-H London cut 75 staff as a result of the decision (PRWeek, 23 November 2001).

Nortel recently had a change of PR leadership in the US, following the departure of V-P of corporate communications Andy Lark, who left to join Sun Microsystems. A replacement has not yet been found.

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