More pain for Bell Pottinger over Gupta account as mporium cuts ties
The tech firm has ended its relationship with the controversial public relations agency and Imperial Brands says it will review its ‘long-standing’ relationship
The British technology company mporium has ended its relationship with the controversial public relations firm Bell Pottinger.
Mporium CEO Nelius de Groot said in an e-mail on Monday: "I can confirm that we are aware of the controversy and that we have ended our relationship with Bell Pottinger."
Bell Pottinger has been slammed for its controversial handling of the Gupta family account.
The DA complained to the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) that Bell Pottinger’s campaign sought to "divide and conquer" the South African public to keep President Jacob Zuma and the ANC in power. The PRCA expelled Bell Pottinger for a minimum of five years.
Imperial Brands media manager Simon Evans said the company was reviewing its "long-standing" relationship with the Bell Pottinger team in the UK "none of whom were ever involved with the Oakbay account".
"Having said that‚ Bell Pottinger’s conduct in SA was clearly unacceptable."
European cinema operator and Bell Pottinger client Cineworld said: "We do not discuss the details of our contracts."
The Financial Times reported on Friday that Bell Pottinger’s Asia unit would separate from the parent company to form Klareco Communications.
On Monday it was also reported that the Middle East arm of Bell Pottinger was in talks to separate from the scandal-hit PR agency through a management buyout, as its parent prepared to go into administration.
Bell Pottinger Middle East (BPME), a separate legal entity headquartered out of the United Arab Emirates, said in a statement at the weekend that it had rejected the opportunity to work on the Oakbay account which was at the centre of the scandal that has brought down its London-based parent company.
British high commissioner Nigel Casey has said Bell Pottinger’s work in SA had damaged the UK’s reputation in the country. Lord George Young revealed this in the House of Lords where Bell Pottinger’s conduct was discussed.
Bell Pottinger said on Wednesday it had hired accountancy firm BDO to advise on a possible sale after its work in SA.