MS&L's Bennett quits for Microsoft rival Edelman

Dave Bennett, Manning Selvage & Lee's Microsoft Xbox supremo, is leaving to join rival Microsoft account-holder Edelman.

Bennett, a director who joined MS&L around eight years ago, has run its trophy Xbox account since the agency won the brief almost six years ago (PRWeek, 26 Jan 2001).

He is expected to join Edelman in a similar director role and is currently seeing out a notice period. MS&L refused to comment on Bennett's departure, while Bennett was unavailable for comment.

The move has sparked speculation that Microsoft Xbox head of European comms Paul Fox will review MS&L's account - and that Edelman would be frontrunner to bag the business.

Fox called in MS&L only six months after joining Xbox and has worked closely with Bennett since. Fox and Microsoft had not returned PRWeek's calls as the mag­azine went to press.

Should Edelman secure the brief it would go some way towards replacing Edelman-owned consumer agency Jackie Cooper PR's Sony PlayStation account. Sony and JCPR are to go their separate ways in January following increasing conflicts between Sony and Microsoft accounts (PRWeek, 13 Oct). Should Edelman win Xbox, JCPR will not be able to work on it until 2007.

Separately, Edelman has made two further moves seemingly focused on improving its Microsoft credentials.

Inferno account ­director Justin Westcott is to join its tech division in the next few weeks. He follows former Inferno account director Tim Callington, who joined in August ­after leaving Inferno in April.

Both worked on Microsoft accounts at Inferno.

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