French PM hires PROs for reforms

Paris: French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has drafted in two high-level PR consultants to help gain public backing for controversial plans to reform the country’s pension schemes.

Raffarin is proposing to align France’s generous public sector pensions with those in the private sector.

Senior communications advisers Raymond Soubie, chairman of comms and management consultancy Altedia, and Maurice Levy, chairman of marketing services giant Publicis, have been enlisted to head a 20-strong task force working on communications surrounding the reforms.

The team is advising not only Raffarin, but also social affairs minister François Fillon, the main author of the reforms Bill set to be debated before Parliament.

Publicis Consultants president Eric Giuily is also a key PR figure within the task force, acting as day-to-day coordinator.

The advisers, representing their respective firms, were hired following a public call for tender last January.

Nine communications agencies originally pitched, later whittled down to a shortlist of six.

Altedia and Publicis were finally chosen after a near 18 month-long pitch process.

The advisers will help media train ministers involved in the reform alongside helping Raffarin avoid a repeat of 1995, when a pensions reform bill proposed by the Government was withdrawn after union action.

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