Hanover acquires Bell Pottinger Middle East

Hanover Middle East has signed an agreement to acquire all the assets of Bell Pottinger Middle East. The acquisition will include a name change to Hanover Middle East and will continue to focus on strategic consultancy advice in the financial services, healthcare, technology, media and telecoms sectors as well as maintain its creative agency, The Playbook.

The agreement will also see the appointment of a restructured senior team from both agencies. Jonty Summers will take on the combined business in addition to his role as Managing Director at Hanover. While BPME’s Archie Berens, previously Managing Director will be appointed to the role of Chairman and Amy Piek previously Associate Partner to the role of Director.

Bell Pottinger barred from PRCA

British multinational PR and marketing firm, Bell Pottinger has been expelled from the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), following an investigation into its work for Oakbay Capital in South Africa. Bell Pottinger’s membership has been terminated with immediate effect and the company won’t be eligible to reapply for PRCA’s corporate membership for a minimum period of five years.

Following a complaint from the Democratic Alliance, the investigation revealed that Bell Pottinger breached four clauses under the PRCA Professional Charter and Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct, and that the firm’s campaign could possibly induce racial tensions in South Africa.

“Bell Pottinger has brought the PR and communications industry into disrepute with its actions, and it has received the harshest possible sanctions,” Francis Ingham, Director General, PRCA. “The PRCA has never before passed down such a damning indictment of an agency’s behaviour. This outcome reflects the huge importance that PRCA places on the protection of ethical standards in the business of PR and communications.”

Bell Pottinger makes structural changes

Full-service and international communications company, Bell Pottinger has made several appointments and promotions within its Dubai office. Tim Falconer, previously Deputy Bureau Chief at The Wall Street Journal in the Middle East has been appointed to the role of Managing Director. With experience in financial and corporate practices as well as equity and oil markets, Tim will now oversee the strategic direction of the agency and help drive new business across the region and beyond.

Jennifer Kedissa, previously Group Account Director at APCO Worldwide, joins Bell Pottinger as Associate Partner and brings with her experience in strategic communications across Europe and the Middle East. In her new role, she will oversee a number of key clients in the corporate and financial space across the region.

Omar Nasro has been appointed to the role of Consultant. He brings both government and corporate communications experience across a range of industries. In his new role, he will support the Arabic speaking team across a wide portfolio of clients in the region.

Bell Pottinger will also see internal promotions of some its senior consultants as a part of the agency’s structural development. Amy Piek has been promoted to the role of Associate Partner in the Financial Practice, Rose Yousef to Associate Partner in the Corporate Practice and Rima Ali to Head of Arabic Content.

“I am delighted to announce Tim Falconer’s appointment as Managing Director, Dubai and to also welcome both Jennifer and Omar to the team,” says David Beck, International Managing Partner, Bell Pottinger. “Their respective experiences strengthens an already thriving team and will help us cater to a growing number of clients.”

New Senior Consultant at Bell Pottinger

Bell Pottinger in Dubai has appointed Amy Piek to the role of Senior Consultant. Previously a Senior Consultant at FTI Consulting where she advised public, semi-government and private companies on financial and corporate communications as well as investor relations, Amy has over eight years of experience in media and communications. In her new role at Bell Pottinger, she will advise a range of companies in the Gulf region on investor relations and corporate communications, with a particular focus on the financial sector. Amy will work closely with C-suite executives to increase her client’s profiles in the region and abroad, as well as protect reputations through issues management.

“It is very exciting to join one of the leading communications agencies in the Middle East, known for its forward-thinking, innovative approach, strong management leadership team and international network,” says Amy. “I look forward to using my communications experience in Australia and the Gulf to provide existing clients with best-in-class communication advice and to further expand Bell Pottinger’s already high-profile list of clients.”

Bell Pottinger to make senior appointments

Bell Pottinger will make a series of senior level appointments across the group’s international businesses. Sam Turvey, currently Managing Director in Dubai, will relocate to Hong Kong in early May, where he will take up the position of Managing Director in order to give a fresh perspective to the group’s Hong Kong team. Nicola Hooper, currently a Partner in the Dubai office, will become its new Managing Director where she will continue to nurture strong client relationships in the region. Nicola’s new role will also involve her working closely with Archie Berens, Managing Director of Bell Pottinger’s Abu Dhabi office, in order to implement a strategic growth plan across financial, corporate, government and consumer communications.

Tim Wilson, Chairman of Bell Pottinger Middle East, will also assume the additional role of Chairman of CSM Sport and Entertainment, Middle East and Africa, where he will oversee the opening of a new office in Dubai for the sports and entertainment agency while continuing to support the Bell Pottinger team in growing the geopolitical service offering.

“I am delighted to announce these appointments,” says James Henderson, Group CEO, Bell Pottinger. “They are a testament to our ability to attract and nurture brilliant talent which contributes to the continued success and growth of our international business. These changes are a great opportunity for Bell Pottinger’s international offices to offer clients even more of an integrated, global service. The connections between the Middle East and Asia are only getting stronger, so to be able to apply firsthand knowledge of the Middle East to businesses and individuals in the Far East – and vice versa – will be a real advantage.”

Al Arabiya hosts Lord Bell

Al Arabiya English hosted communications veteran Lord Timothy Bell, Chairman of public relations firm Bell Pottinger, as part of a panel discussion on the PR industry last Thursday, March 10. The event was moderated by Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Al Arabiya English and attended by government representatives, public relations industry professionals and senior journalists, as part of an ongoing series – Al Arabiya News Global Discussions, an initiative created by Al Arabiya News during its relaunch in order to bolster understanding, encourage dialogue and find ways to bridge the communication gap between the MENA region and the rest of the world. Lord Bell offered his opinions on a number of topics, including Britain’s membership in the EU, the ‘war of words’ against ISIS as well as the rise of social media and how this has brought more opportunities to reach more specific audiences.

“The essence of public relations is to use third party endorsement to inform and persuade…none of that has changed,” says Lord Bell, referring to social and digital media and the PR process. “It’s the same skill and the art of it is to have an idea that you communicate with the same power to capture the imagination of the people you’re talking to, which makes them change the way they think and the way they behave.”




Bell Pottinger welcomes new Partner

Ehab Khairi has joined Bell Pottinger as a Partner in its Middle East business. Ehab joins the international PR agency from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), where he was Senior Manager of Media and PR – VP, Corporate Communications for eight years. In his new role, Ehab will be based in Bell Pottinger’s office in Dubai, supporting clients across the wider MENA region, including in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Africa. He will also lead the agency’s team of 10 native Arabic speakers, based across its three offices in the Gulf.

“We are delighted that Ehab has joined our growing business in the Middle East,” says Tim Wilkinson, Chairman, Bell Pottinger Middle East. “He is a highly experienced and wise public relations practitioner, and he has a deep understanding of the Arabic language, local media landscape, as well as the regional business community. This senior hire illustrates our ongoing commitment to ensuring we offer a diverse range of senior PR consultants who can operate successfully in local and international environments.”

Ehab adds “Bell Pottinger already has a strong Arabic offer and my ambition is to keep developing it, in line with the needs of our diverse client base. I’m excited to be joining the team at an interesting time for companies and governments across the Middle East, and I look forward to using my experience to help make Bell Pottinger’s communications offering in the region an even more compelling one.”

Tim Wilkinson appointed Chairman of Bell Pottinger

Tim Wilkinson has been appointed as Chairman of Bell Pottinger’s Middle East operations. A communications and reputation expert with extensive experience in government, corporate and brand communications, Tim has held senior communications roles both in-house as well as within leading PR companies. Prior to joining Bell Pottinger, Tim spent over 15 years at The Coca-Cola Company building and protecting its corporate and brand reputation in developed and developing countries including those in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

“The Middle East and the Gulf is a critical part of our growing group business and during his first year with Bell Pottinger, Tim has proved that he has the experience, relationships and local knowledge to continue to make a major contribution to growing our Middle Eastern business,” says James Henderson, CEO of Bell Pottinger. “Tim has brought in major client wins, provided strategic counsel at the highest levels and has bought regional and international experience to the team. Tim’s appointment will significantly further the success of our operations in the Middle East.”

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New MD for Bell Pottinger Abu Dhabi

Bell Pottinger has appointed Archie Berens as Managing Director of its new Abu Dhabi office. With nearly 20 years experience in financial and corporate communications, and having previously qualified as a lawyer, Berens was chosen as the ideal candidate to head up the Abu Dhabi office.

Berens’ appointment follows the arrival in the UAE of fellow Bell Pottinger director Tristan Peniston-Bird, who took charge of the firm’s office in Dubai in January.

“It is very good news for us to be able to have someone as experienced as Archie living and working full time in Abu Dhabi,” says Lord Bell, Chairman of Bell Pottinger. “His appointment demonstrates our wholehearted commitment both to the Emirate and to the UAE as a whole. We have a long and proud history of advising organisations and governments in the region and I am confident we will continue to play a major part in effectively promoting their vision and success.”

Commenting on his appointment, Berens adds, “My team and I are looking forward to helping clients in the Emirate communicate effectively with all their stakeholders – which will in turn show the rest of the world what a force Abu Dhabi has become in the global economy and what an exciting future lies ahead.”