NEWS ROUNDUP: PR stories which broke over the week of 24 July - 30 July

Chadlington branches out

Chadlington branches out



Lord Chadlington, founder of Shandwick, has accumulated a 14 per cent

stake in marketing communications agency Holmes and Marchant

Counsel.



The Monument Trust Company, whose beneficiaries are Chadlington and his

family, announced it had bought a 4.87 per cent stake in the company

last month. In addition, the Abingdon Pension Scheme bought a 9.75 per

cent stake in Holmes and Marchant. The beneficiaries of the pension

scheme are also Chadlington and his family. Chadlington said he will be

a passive investor and does not intend to take a position within the

company. He bought the shares in a personal capacity because he believed

they were undervalued. Chadlington has known the company since the

mid-1980s, when he floated Shandwick and Holmes and Marchant itself

listed on the stock market. PR accounts for around 15 per cent of Holmes

and Marchant’s income.



The agency had 44 PR staff and a fee income of pounds 3.8 million for

the division last year. Its overall turnover is pounds 26 million, but

it made just pounds 1 million profit last year.



Prescott loses press head



John Prescott’s former head of communication Simon Dugdale, who stepped

down from the job on 26 July, has been temporarily replaced by his

deputy, Derek Plews. Dugdale, who has been in charge of communications

at the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions, is now on

annual leave, pending a review of the ministry’s press department. The

review follows criticism of the DETR’s lack of achievements, well

publicised rows between Prescott and his father and disagreements with

the Prime Minister. Six other press officers left the department

recently for other jobs. Vince Yearly, Janet Sutton, and Christine Jude

left for jobs outside Government. Lesley McLeod, Vickie Sheriff, and

Dean Fell left for jobs in other departments. The department has taken

on a number of new press officers in recent months.



Colt Telecoms hires Finsbury



Finsbury has been hired to handle financial media relations for business

telecoms company Colt Telecommunications. Colt is a FTSE 100 company

which provides digital telecoms services to medium-sized and large

companies.



Finsbury, the firm’s first financial PR agency, was hired without a

competitive pitch on a project basis. Investor relations director John

Doherty, to whom the Finsbury team will report, said: ’This is to

improve financial journalists’ understanding of what Colt is about.’



Labour Party loses Davidson



The Scottish Labour Party has lost its second communications director in

just over a year following the departure of Lorraine Davidson, who is

returning to her former employer, STV. Davidson stepped into the shoes

of incumbent Paul McKinney in July 1998 and oversaw the party’s

communications during the devolution referendum and the elections to the

Scottish Parliament.



Before joining Labour, Davidson worked in broadcasting for the BBC and

STV (PR Week, 17 July, 1998). The party is actively seeking her

replacement.



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