News in brief

CELEBRITY Publicist Caroline McAteer was this week helping X-Factor judge Louis Walsh – a long-term friend – with media handling on an unofficial basis. She said she ‘knew for a fact’ Walsh’s departure from the ITV1 show, which hit the headlines on Wednesday, was not a publicity stunt.

CORPORATE Drinks company Diageo has appointed 20-year company stalwart Mark Leverton to the newly created role of director – alcohol policy and industry issues. He was formerly corporate relations director for Europe.

TRAVEL Air New Zealand has brought in Grayling to handle its UK PR. Fiona Reece, who formerly worked at travel specialist BGB Communications, heads the account at Grayling – hired after a four-way pitch.

AGENCY The Media Foundry, the seven-year-old PR agency run by Peter Law, was this week confirmed as one of four marcoms agencies that are part of newly created holding company Cagney. The latter, whose management is led by former Ogilvy ad executive Paul Simons, is set to float on London's AIM.

CONSUMER Luxury Swiss chocolate maker Lindt has taken on Starfish Communications, following a two-way pitch against incumbent Redhead PR. The 12-month UK account is believed to be worth £100,000 and work will focus on seasonal periods such as Valentine's Day.

TOURISM Financial Dynamics' B2B team, and its consumer arm FD Consumer Dynamics, is working for the Dubai government's UK
tourism and commerce marketing department on a project basis,
aiming to boost coverage of the emirate in the national press .

CONSUMER Phipps PR is promoting the launch of Branston Baked Beans. Phipps landed the account, working alongside retained agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson, after working for parent company Premier Foods on its Loyd Grossman's cooking sauces.

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