Maja Pawinska Sims 13 Jun 2018 // 11:34AM GMT
LONDON — British Airways has restructured its senior communications team and handed its international consumer and cargo PR work to a combined WPP team from Ogilvy and Hill+ Knowlton Strategies.
The announcement comes after an exhaustive six month selection process that involved 12 agencies at the RFI stage, competing for the seven-figure assignment.
The agencies will join will join WPP’s existing Team Horizon, its dedicated cross-disciplinary team for International Airlines Group (IAG), which already covers advertising, media, customer loyalty, design, production and digital transformation. The new brief is global, excluding Africa, where consumer PR will continue to be handled by Meropa, and will be run out of London with hubs in New York and Asia.
BA’s Western European and Asia-Pacific consumer PR has been handled by Grayling for the past seven years. Another casualty of the account shake-up is long-standing incumbent Action Global, which previously handled the BA account in the Middle East and Southern/Eastern Europe; the region will now be handled by the WPP team. British Airways was the agency's first client when it was set up by Tony Christodoulou in 1971 and Action had held the account ever since, through several previous global account shifts, consolidations and reviews.
The airline has also given Pagefield a new corporate communications brief, after reviewing the assignment last year.
The agency appointments were made by Louise Evans, formerly director of corporate affairs at Sainsbury's, who was named director of external communications at BA in February this year, with head of global PR Kathryn Williamson.
Evans commented: “British Airways has an exciting and successful future ahead as Britain’s airline of choice – a quality airline for everyone, everywhere. I’m confident our new internal structure, alongside our agency framework, will provide us with the support we need to tell our story across the globe as we head into our Centenary year and beyond.”
Williamson will be leaving BA after seven years as part of an in-house restructure, along with head of global news Sophie Greenyer and communications manager Richard Goodfellow, who have both been with the airline for 17 years. Williamson said: “I have loved working with a fantastically talented and creative team to deliver many award-winning campaigns. I know the team will continue to shine and it’s now time for me to do something new and I’m excited to be embarking on a new challenge in the autumn.”