P&O Group on verge of naming financial shop

Ferry, port and freight transport company P&O Group is on the verge of completing a review of its financial PR, jeopardising a 15-year relationship with Bell Pottinger Corporate & Financial.

The group has drawn up a shortlist of three agencies in addition to the incumbent.

P&O Group director of comms and strategy Peter Smith confirmed the group was reviewing its account but would not say when the firm would make a decision or discuss the pitch list.

However, it is understood Brunswick, Financial Dynamics, The Maitland Consultancy and the incumbent have already pitched for the business.

‘We have gone through a big restructuring over the last ten years with the demerger of P&O Cruises and our commitment to sell £250m worth of our property portfolio this year. We are not the same firm as when Bell Pottinger took the account 15 years ago,’ Smith told PRWeek.

The brief for the account for P&O is thought to be less expansive than for companies of a similar size, with most financial and corporate comms handled in-house.

P&O’s financial comms review comes just two months after the firm’s reputation reached a nadir following its late September announcement that P&O Ferries would cut its fleet of 31 ships to 23 and close 13 of its routes.

News that the moves could result in the loss of up to 1,200 jobs sent P&O to the bottom of PRWeek’s Reputation Monitor in October (PRWeek, 8 October).

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