Citigate veteran Smith to quit a year after GCG deal

Citigate Public Affairs' supremo Warwick Smith is quitting after 17 years and just over one year after the agency's merger with fellow Huntsworth firm The Global Consulting Group.

Smith, who serves as UK senior MD and head of public affairs for the merged entity, steps down on 15October. He is understood to be considering a handful of offers in the industry.

In his place, Christopher Bunting will assume leadership of GCG's operations in the UK, overseeing around 30 staff. This includes 22 Citigate PA consultants, with the rest working in its corporate comms practice. Citigate PA managing director Rex Osborn will assume responsibility for public affairs upon Smith's departure.

According to Bunting - a Canadian national who was CEO of Weber Shandwick in his home country for 13 years - Smith is leaving entirely of his own accord.

Smith's exit rounds off a turbulent period for Citigate PA. After last year's merger with GCG, Edelman snatched Citigate PA's Brussels staff, effectively closing down the operation.

At the start of this year, MD Simon Nayyar defected to Edelman after 16 years, taking director Heather Rogers and Edinburgh office head John Mullin with him (PRWeek, 12 January).

Smith said: ‘I feel that I should move on to new and different challenges in the industry. I shall remain with the firm until mid-October to ensure a smooth transition of my responsibilities to the new management team.'

Smith's major clients include the British Generic Manufacturers' Association and gambling operators MGM Mirage and Kerzner.

After 16 years in the civil service, he joined Westminster Communications in 1989. Incepta acquired the firm in 1997 and Smith became chairman and CEO of the business two years ago.Huntsworth merged the agency with GCG last year following the acquisition of Incepta.

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