According to Bell Pottinger CEO Tim Ryan, Coles left after a ‘compromise agreement’ was reached. He said he could make no further comment on the reason for Coles’s departure, adding: ‘I’m sure he will bounce back.’
Coles declined to comment but it is believed he is set to join another agency within the next couple of weeks.
During his time at Bell Pottinger, Coles worked for a number of high-profile cases including Abbey National’s planned merger in 2000 with Bank of Scotland. He also led an institutional shareholder campaign against the government’s decision to put Railtrack into administration in 2001.
Coles is the third senior departure from Bell Pottinger’s financial PR operation this year. Bell Pottinger Financial MD Jonathon Brill quit in January (PRWeek, 23 January) and last month retail bank Standard Chartered poached Bell Pottinger Corporate & Financial director Charlotte Lambkin (PRWeek, 17 September).
The last two departures follow the merger of Bell Pottinger Financial with Bell Pottinger Consultants to form Bell Pottinger Corporate & Financial.
Ryan, who was director of comms at cable firm Ntl until March last year, moved into his present role as the head of the combined financial and corporate PR firm a year after his appointment as managing director of Bell Pottinger Consultants.
Ryan said of the departures: ‘Since my arrival [as chief executive] I have made some significant personnel changes which have been designed to strengthen and enhance the talent pool.’