AMSTERDAM — AkzoNobel has kicked off a multimillion dollar review of its global communications relationships, the Holmes Report can reveal, with the Dutch MNC currently talking to agency holding groups about a more integrated approach to its corporate brand requirements.

The review focuses on AkzoNobel's corporate offering, rather than Dulux or the numerous other paint, performance coating and chemical brands that the $15bn Dutch MNC owns. It comes one year after AkzoNobel corporate relations director Leslie McGibbon told the Holmes Report of his work to centralise communications, in a bid to ensure that the company behaves more like an operating company with its own brand. 

McGibbon, who joined AkzoNobel in 2015, confirmed that he is currently speaking to holding groups about his communications requirements, which span a range of areas, including brand, design, social media, media relations, internal engagement, and public affairs, along with global strategy and local execution.

AkzoNobel currently works with more than 100 agencies across the world, including Edelman and Portland. The review, which McGibbon aims to complete by summer, is expected to result in a much reduced number of firms.

"It’s part of the continuation of our process to change the function and move to a more coordinated and joined up function globally, towards more content-led and digital-first thinking," said McGibbon. "The next logical step is to look at all of the agencies supporting us."

Since joining AkzoNobel, McGibbon has implemented a wide-ranging restructuring of the communications function, which has included a number of new departments, along with a regional structure that aims to share communications resources across the paint, performance coating and chemicals divisions.

Previously, each division functioned as a standalone entity with its own communications and marketing departments. Communications now report into McGibbon, who has also created new global departments and roles for such areas as content and creative services; planning; social listening; internal engagement; and, public affairs.

"We need great partners to help us achieve what we want to achieve," said McGibbon last year. "Do we need 100? No. We need a handful."

That approach is expected to involve holding groups putting forward multi-agency teams to pitch for the business, confirmed agency sources familiar with the situation.