Merchant head of PR and marketing Julia Boslom said Bell Pottinger started this week and would report to chief executive Philip Newton. She added that Bell Pottinger and Beattie were on a shortlist of six agencies that pitched for the account.
Bell Pottinger managing director Anne-Marie Wilkinson, who moved to the firm from Beattie in January, is leading the account.
Beattie executive vice-chairman Brian Coleman-Smith, who brought the
Merchant account to Beattie in August 2002 from Binns & Co, said Wilkinson had been working on the financial and corporate account for around nine months.
‘Obviously Merchant liked her and decided that the account would move with her when she went to Bell Pottinger,’ said Coleman-Smith.
He added that Wilkinson’s last act at Beattie had been to handle Merchant’s results.
Merchant’s business also includes Sunderland department store Joplings, the de Gruchy department store in Jersey and Woodards in Leamington Spa.
For the year to March 2003, Merchant increased pre-tax profits by 27 per cent to bring in more than £13m.