EDITORIAL: COI roster review is sensible move

An unexpected knock-on effect of recent mergers and acquisitions in the PR industry emerged this week, with news that the Central Office of Information is to bring forward a review of its agency roster on the basis that the companies on it are not the ones it hired two years back.

Of the 26 firms on the roster at the time of the last review, a decent proportion have either been taken over or had their character changed by deals in which they were the acquirer rather than the target.

Some of them - August.One Communications, say, which has since absorbed its sister firm Joe Public Relations, or Beer Davies, which is now part of Kaizo - are relatively small. But others - Incepta's Citigate Communications, for example, which has seen a string of senior staff changes, and Chime Communication's QBO, now subsumed by the Bell Pottinger empire - are not.

And no matter how big or small they are, it must be disconcerting for those agencies that joined the roster in 2001 - most of whom have found it a useful and lucrative relationship and a reliable source of new business - to know that, through no fault of their own, they are up for review so early.

But consider also those that missed the cut last time, and have also gone through substantial change in the intervening two years. They have a second chance to pitch for a business opening they thought was closed to them, and will surely applaud the COI's worthwhile project.

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