H&K wins Accenture brief to boost kudos in govt

Accenture, the world's biggest technology consultancy, has awarded Hill & Knowlton its first UK public affairs account as it bids to strengthen its reputation in government circles.

It is understood to be particularly keen to expand on its current work for the NHS. It holds contracts to make patient records available electronically under the National Programme for IT.

H&K emerged triumphant after a competitive pitch involving global director of government relations Liz Arky and incoming UK public affairs chief Matt Ball.

Ball joins Accenture as senior manager, UK government relations on 5 September from the General Medical Council, where he has spent the past four years (PRWeek, 15 July). He is a former adviser to Patricia Hewitt, the current Health Secretary - and previously worked in H&K's public affairs practice.

The hire of H&K further renews Ball's relationship with the agency, which he retained in his role at GMC.

Accenture UK & Ireland director of marketing and comms Peter Thomas - also, by coincidence, a former H&K staffer as tech practice chief - confirmed the appointment. But he added it was 'not disclosing the nature and scope' of the work.

The agency's head of corporate affairs, Andy Pharoah, who was unavailable for comment, will lead the account.

Thomas said Burson-Marsteller would continue to act as Accenture's 'global agency of record' for corporate comms.

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