Burns added that incumbent Brunswick - hired in June 1997 - has been invited to take part in the process, and that the review did not reflect concerns over the agency's work.
'In my view, after five years with an agency it is good business practice to put it up for review. They've served us very well and they understood when we said that we would be repitching the business,' said Burns.
The corporate and financial pitch comes on the back of a global PR review at BA, prompted by the events of 11 September. Since then BA's global in-house PR team has been cut back from 99 to 58 staff.
Burns said hiring an agency would reinforce BA's own resources: 'What I see with a corporate and financial agency is being able to bring expertise to the table that we do not have in-house. We're looking at areas we don't have ourselves and where the agency can complement us.'
Burns said he has decided on the 'five or six' agencies that will be invited to pitch.
Sources close to BA suggest that they are likely to include full-service firms such as Bell Pottinger Financial, Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Weber Shandwick, alongside financial specialists such as Financial Dynamics, the Maitland Consultancy and Brunswick.