Cable & Wireless PR account up for pitch

Cable & Wireless, the FTSE-100 telecoms company, is in the advanced stages of a pitch that could see the end of a four-year relationship with Brodeur Worldwide.

C&W UK director of communications Mark Davis confirmed that it had shortlisted four firms for the account, including incumbent Brodeur.

He declined to name the other firms involved but PRWeek understands that Brodeur is squaring off against August One Communications, Fleishman-Hillard and Weber Shandwick.

A decision on the pitch is expected early next month. The brief involves handling PR around C&W’s effort to sell telecommunications, internet services and software to UK companies.

C&W manages outsourced telephony and internet services for companies in 70 countries.

Davis denied that the move was linked to the recent restructuring of communications at C&W and said that the review was part of the company’s policy to review external advisers on a regular basis.

The company’s UK marketing support PR account would be reviewed every three years, Davis said.

C&W is in the middle of a major restructure following a company-wide review instigated by chief executive Francesco Caio, who joined last April.

As part of this, the company has moved its UK headquarters from London to Bracknell in Berkshire in an effort to save £30m.

The changes have also seen the redundancy of two of C&W’s most senior PROs as the company made moves to centralise communications functions (PRWeek, 9 January).

This has seen former Dixons Group director of public affairs Lesley Smith take over communications at C&W in the new position of group director of corporate and public affairs.

Smith has a wide-ranging brief overseeing communications across the entire company.

In November last year C&W posted a pre-tax loss of £3m, down significantly on its 2002 losses which had reached £4.43 bn.

Caio said that this indicated a good start to the company’s restructuring plan, which involves the disposal of its loss-making US subsidiaries and will also mean the shedding of 1,500 jobs in the UK.

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