Public affairs consultancy
Four years ago, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs was in turmoil. The firm had declined from 25 people to about eight and was losing money. So parent company Chime brought in Peter Bingle, former managing director of U.K. operations GPC International, to lead what it calls “Operation Phoenix” and the turnaround has been impressive. The firm has been growing as fast as any public affairs firm in the U.K. over the past four years and has a client list that includes eBay, Emirates, HSBC, McDonald’s, O2, Rio Tinto, Rolls Royce, Sun Microsystems, and Thameslink.
The firm’s focus is on government relations (including policy research and analysis, political intelligence, drafting position papers and for4mal submissions, procedural advice, contact and networking programmes) and regulatory and competition advice (with an emphasis on the public affairs implications of mergers and acquisitions). But the firm also has experience in broad reputation management (from stakeholder mapping and analysis to corporate social responsibility programming) and crisis management. Its expertise spans industries and issues including consumer protection; competition; defence; employment; energy; environment; financial services; food; planning; regulation; science and technology; telecommunications; and transport. And Bell Pottinger Public Affairs has experience in Westminster, Whitehall, and the institutions of the European Union. BPPC has also worked—sometimes through partners—with the new parliaments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and has representation in Washington, D.C., and Frankfurt
Interesting assignments in the past year include working with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as it figures out what to do with the U.K.’s ageing nuclear power plants; the Credit Services Association, seeking to raise its profile as it tackles the debt crisis; the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, as it lobbied for tax cuts and business deregulation; Rio Tinto, for policy issues related to climate change and sustainability; and Tees Valley Regeneration to drum up public support for economic development activities in five north-eastern cities.
The senior staff includes a diverse mix of individuals with connections to the three main political parties and sector-specific expertise. Among the key directors Luke Chauveau was previously PR manager for the Press Complaints Commission; Neil Stockley is an expert in issues and crisis management and was previously head of policy for the Liberal Democrats; and Tim Walker spent two years as head of public affairs at Turner Broadcasting and also worked for Labour MP Jack Cunningham. New to the firm over the past 12 months are former Vodafone public policy director Stewart White, who is spearheading BP’s international growth plans.