Financial PR specialist Finsbury has been appointed to handle the
national roll-out of new BT competitor Ionica.
The move comes hard on the heels of the appointment of Ian Morris,
formerly head of communications at Bass Brewers, to the post of head of
external affairs at Ionica (PR Week, 11 October). He begins work in
Finsbury was taken on without a pitch, having been personally
recommended by Ionica’s investment banker, SBC Warburg. The contract is
open-ended and will initially involve raising Ionica’s profile in the
City, mainly via the business pages of the national press. Ionica has no
immediate plans to appoint a separate consumer PR agency.
Recently valued at over pounds 500 million, Ionica plans to be
positioned as the first real national rival to BT.
It claims its equipment is relatively cheap and easy to install compared
with traditional wires or cables and that its call charges will be
pitched 15-20 per cent below those of BT.
Roland Rudd, a director of Finsbury, says Ionica only needs to capture
two per cent of the UK telecoms market to be ‘extremely profitable’. A
public flotation ‘is clearly an option’, although there are no plans at
the moment, he added.
Nigel Playford, founder and chief executive of Ionica, said public
relations would be a major plank of his marketing strategy, however, he
refused to disclose any budget figures. Finsbury’s main attraction was
its director, Rudd, who, says Playford, was ‘very straight down-the-
Finsbury clients include Kingfisher, Williams Holdings and East Midlands