GPC wins pitch for Nats account

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) has appointed GPC International as its public affairs agency for the UK and Europe only weeks after announcing the departure of its chief executive.

The account was pitched for in January (PRWeek, 27 January) by a number of agencies after developments in European air space regulations forced Nats to reconsider its government relations needs. Weber Shandwick GJW was the incumbent.

The account will be headed by GPC London associate director Richard Mollett and GPC Brussels associate director Dan Baxter. They will report to Nats director of corporate communications Rachael Reid.

GPC takes over the account during a time of major upheaval at the part-government owned company and following a restructuring and refinancing of its debt.

Nats announced at the beginning of this month that it is to replace its chief executive Richard Everitt. The position will be taken by engineering group Alstom UK president and managing director Paul Barron, who will take Nats through a £1bn modernisation programme that will see the company replace many of its existing systems.

The process began with a major software upgrade earlier this year following a near collision of two passenger jets in 2002, caused by a mistake at the Swanwick air traffic control centre in Hampshire.

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