Senior executives at Ian Greer Associates are negotiating a move to Sir
Tim Bell’s Lowe Bell Communications, as part of a mass exodus from the
lobbying firm following the collapse of its libel case against the
Guardian and further allegations about its role in the ‘cash-for-
The talks have been led by Jeremy Sweeney and IGA director Perry Miller.
Sweeney has resigned as UK managing director of IGA and is currently
working out his notice.
Bell confirmed he was in negotiations with ‘a handful’ of people from
IGA. He told PR Week: ‘I am talking to a group of people within IGA
about whether they would like to come and work with us and bring their
clients with them, if they want to come. If the package makes sense I’ll
go along with it. I am not buying IGA nor any part of it.’
If the deal succeeds, Sweeney and Miller will join a flood of IGA staff
who have now quit the firm. Andrew Smith, group managing director,
resigned last week before a board meeting at which Ian Greer announced
he would step down as chairman of the company and offered to hand
control to the remaining directors. Greer, however, withheld the news of
Smith’s resignat-ion until after the meeting. This proved to be the
final straw for Robbie MacDuff, managing director of IGA’s Scottish
office, who resigned on Sunday, along with IGA UK director Jonathan
Hopkins, Brad Staples, MD of IGA Europe in Brussels, and two of his
account directors, Liam McArthur and Edward Walsh.
Staples and his colleagues are understood to be exploring several
options for their future. Among others they are known to have had talks
with Brussels-based lobbying firm European Strategy - sister-company to
Westminster Strategy as well as Paul Adamson, of Adamson Associates.
Meanwhile, IGA’s client base also appears to be crumbling. PowerGen,
which used IGA for parliamentary research and lobbying, is believed to
have advised the company, it will not be reappointed after its contract
expires later this month.
Another high profile client, the Water Services Association, has given
notice to IGA Europe, which it used for monitoring in Brussels. A WSA
spokesman said Monday’s decision was sparked by the loss of ‘key
Calor Gas is also ending its association with IGA, although PR manager
Andrew Ford said the move is part of a pre-planned rationalisation of
One of the agency’s most recent high-profile clients, the National Union
of Teachers, which signed IGA in May is also reviewing the relationship.
Other clients, including Taylor Woodrow and recently merged automotive
and aerospace company Lucas Varity, have indicated that they are
watching how events unfold.
Another company, Thames Water said its account with IGA was due for
renewal in the next few weeks but would not comment on whether the
ongoing furore would affect its decision.
IGA is making no public comment on the situation. Crisis media
consultant John Stonborough, who had been called in by IGA, ceased
working for the agency on Friday. Stonborough said he had told the
agency his skills ‘were not relevant to the situation which has
Analysis p9, Feature p12