ID card hopeful Unisys rethinks UK strategy

Computer company Unisys is reviewing its UK public relations account amid a global restructure.

The account, believed to be worth around £250,000, is currently held by Cohn & Wolfe.

Unisys PR manager Emma Thompson said: 'We are in initial discussions with a select number of agencies.' She added that C&W would be invited to repitch.

C&W has handled the brief since July 2001, and has worked on campaigns for Unisys on the Continent.

Unisys is one of more than a dozen US IT companies bidding for the UK's proposed biometric national ID card scheme.

In the UK around 80 per cent of Unisys' business is devoted to IT consultancy, with 20 per cent devoted to hardware, such as servers, and software.

Formed by the 1986 merger of Burroughs and Sperry Corp, Unisys transformed itself from a hardware supplier in the 1990s into an IT services firm. It now provides systems integration, project management and other technology services.

Last October, chief executive Joseph McGrath announced the sale of non-core assets worth around $500m (£286m) in revenues.
McGrath also plans to cut Unisys' workforce of 38,000 employees by ten per cent over the next year. The firm announced a $54.3m (£31.1m) loss in the third quarter of last year.

The company said this week that it would sell its 28 per cent stake in Japanese hardware and software company Nihon Unisys. Nihon will remain the exclusive supplier of Unisys products in Japan.

l Former Unisys head of communications Jill Pearcy this week joined financial messaging and software cooperative Swift as head of corporate communications.

Pearcy left Unisys earlier this month after eight years based in Brussels.

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