Robert Phillips...Edelman CEO
LONDON--News Corp has called in Edelman to help it deal with the debilitating crisis brought about by the phone-hacking scandal.
Edelman EMEA CEO Robert Phillips told the Holmes Report that the agency had been retained by News International’s management and standards committee, which has been set up to oversee its response to the unfolding crisis.
The committee is comprised of News International GM Will Lewis, corporate affairs director Simon Greenberg, and general counsel Jeff Palker. The trio report into Joel Klein, the News Corp lawyer that has been charged with clearing up the hacking allegations, the police criminal inquiry into phone hacking and the range of civil actions that beset the UK arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Phillips told the Holmes Report that Edelman’s support was primarily “logistical”. “Edelman is working with the management and standards group of News Corp on general comms support and public affairs counsel,” he said.
Phillips declined to elaborate further. The News Corp crisis has continued unabated, despite the company’s dramatic decision to shut down the News of the World tabloid last week. Earlier today, News Corp shelved its bid for full ownership of BSkyB.
News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey said that the bid had become "too difficult to progress in this climate". News Corp’s decision came as MPs were about to debate a motion supported by all major parties - calling on Murdoch to scrap the bid. The motion was approved without a vote.
News Corp's decision to appoint a PR agency comes after James Murdoch publicly denied the notion of a "reputation crisis", at the Arthur Page Society's Spring Seminar in New York earlier this year.
Last week, the Holmes Report analysed the key comms figures involved in the News Corp crisis, and also weighed up the reputational damage being suffered by the company.