Bell Pottinger beats rivals to EADS brief

Bell Pottinger has fought off six rival agencies to land a wide-ranging public affairs retainer with EADS, Europe's largest aerospace and defence company.

EADS: business divisions include Airbus
EADS: business divisions include Airbus

Consultants from the age­ncy’s Good Relations arm will now work across the EADS business divisions operating in the UK – including Airbus, Astrium, Eurocopter, Defence & Security and Test & Services. But the account will be headed by David Hill, director at Bell Pottinger Collective.

EADS previously used Politics International for public affairs support, as well as using FD, Foresight Consulting, Good Relations and Mandate Communications for various pieces of work.

PRWeek revealed the beefed-up account was out to pitch two months ago (PRWeek, 27 February). Bell Pottinger landed the business after a keenly fought seven-way pitch. Sources said the pitch list also included FD, Fleishman-Hillard, Foresight Communications, Hanover Communications, Politics International and Weber Shandwick.

Hill, a former Downing Street comms director, will work alongside Good Relations director Estelle McCartney on the account. McCartney has worked with Airbus on UK government ­relations since 2004.

EADS employs more than 14,500 people throughout the UK and has a UK turnover of nearly £2 bn.  It claims to be the UK’s largest commercial aerospace company and the largest UK civil aerospace expor­ter. It is also the UK’s second largest aerospace and defence employer.

UPDATE: Weber Shandwick has said it did not pitch for the work due to potential conflict with an existing client.

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