Peter Verhille, managing director of Grayling-owned lobbying firm
European Strategy in Brussels, has been poached by rival Entente
Verhille, MD of ES since 1990, joins Entente as managing director of its
Brussels head office in March.
The move amounts to a straight swap between the two companies following
the appointment of Verhille’s predecessor at Entente, Daniel Verpeaux,
as a director of Grayling’s Paris subsidiary Corolle Grayling (PR Week,
8 December 1995).
In addition Verpeaux will now assume managerial responsibility for
European Strategy itself as one of two directors of the firm - the other
being Maurits Bruggink.
‘It gives us an opportunity to try to strengthen the Paris-Brussels
link,’ said Grayling chief executive Michael Burrell. He confirmed joint
venture negotiations with an independent Brussels lobbying firm -
believed to be EPPA - ‘are still continuing’ but both he and Verhille
denied this was connected with the latter’s decision to leave.
‘I was always a strong defender of this move,’ said Verhille, ‘if the
deal went ahead, it would have been a good thing for both parties’.
Formed in 1991 Entente is owned by four shareholders; The Communication
Group in the UK, Francom in France, Italian firm Barabino and Partners
and Dutch outfit Van Luyken, with franchisees in eight other European
coun-tries. Peter Hamilton, managing director of TCG, said of Verhille’s
appointment that Entente had set out to look for someone with specialist
public affairs experience. ‘Originally the Brussels operation was
primarily pan-European co-ordination. Peter’s arrival heralds our
intention to build public affairs and make it a more dynamic business
in its own right,’ he told PR Week.