Caudwell set to hire shop to handle his personal PR

Mobile phone tycoon John Caudwell is understood to be close to appointing a new agency to handle his personal PR, having invited six agencies to pitch.

Caudwell, whose Phones4U business is Europe's largest independent telecoms company, has used Manchester agency Cicero PR for his personal publicity for the past 12 years.

The account is described by a source close to the pitch as being 'worth a vast amount of money', and is in the final stages of being given to an agency in the Manchester area. Caudwell Group's headquarters is in Stoke-on-Trent.

Managing director of Cicero PR Iain Macauley said he has had no formal contract with Caudwell since beginning work for him.

'John Caudwell is a unique personality who's been driving me nuts for something like 11 or 12 years,' said Macauley.

'I rate him as perhaps the most demanding, honest and forthright client I've dealt with in 18 years in PR.'

The flamboyant entrepreneur, whose mobile phone empire includes Singlepoint, 20:20 Logistics, Dextra, 4U and Synergy, is keen to raise his personal profile 'to the next level', a source close to the pitch said.

His personal publicity efforts to date have included an appearance in BBC2's series Trouble at the Top last March.

In the fly-on-the-wall style programme, Caudwell was shadowed by a camera crew as he auditioned potential sales managers for his mobile phone empire.

Industry sources said that Caudwell's approach to PR means the agency appointed will be expected to highlight his areas of personal as well as professional interest.

Caudwell is renowned for his extravagant lifestyle, which includes a helicopter, twin-engined jet, £1m schooner and 90-room Jacobean mansion.

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