Vodafone policy sage to become BPPA chairman

Bell Pottinger Public Affairs has appointed Vodafone's former group public policy director Stewart White to the new role of chairman where he will spearhead the London lobbying firm's international growth plans.

He will take up the two-day-a-week post on 1 October, reporting to Chime Communications chairman Lord Bell and PR division chairman Kevin Murray.

White took a lead role in securing regulatory clearance for Vodafone's acquisitions of Mannesmann and AirTouch. He was described as Vodafone's 'foreign minister' by the then CEO Chris Gent.

White, an Australian national, left the mobile giant in April after six years and has since been officially on gardening leave. It is understood he will look to grow BPPA organically into Europe and the US.

During his earlier days at Vodafone, White was a client of BPPA managing director Peter Bingle when Bingle was MD of public affairs agency GPC.

White told PRWeek: 'Business shouldn't have a "them and us" attitude to governments and regulators. Clients are best served if they understand the other side of the agenda.' He added he would look to help 'leverage the Chime group clients '.

Prior to joining Vodafone in 1999, White spent more than two decades working at law firms as a media and telecoms specialist, which included advising on the establishment of Sky Television in 1989.

Aside from his imminent chairmanship at BPPA, White said he was providing 'strategic business advice' to a handful of law firms and venture capitalists.

BPPA employs 25 consultants in London. The agency lost directors Rhoda MacDonald to Burson-Marsteller and Tim Carr to The Waterfront Partnership over the course of the summer. Its recent account wins include the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Asda.

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