Bell Pottinger Middle East in talks to separate from UK owner

Move comes following news that Bell Pottinger Private Limited in the UK is to be put into administration
Bell Pottinger’s founder Lord Tim Bell told BBC's Newsnight the PRCA explusion “almost certainly” signalled the end for the firm.
By Sarah Townsend
Sun 10 Sep 2017 11:02 AM

The directors of Bell Pottinger Middle East have announced the firm is in discussions to separate from its current owner Bell Pottinger Private Limited. 

The move follows news that Bell Pottinger Private Limited in the UK is to be put into administration. 

The UK branch of the PR firm lies in tatters after it was expelled from trade body the Public Relations and Communications Associations (PRCA) over a controversial campaign in South Africa found “likely to inflame racial discord”.

The UK firm was reported to be in talks to find a buyer, while Bell Pottinger Middle East (BPME) told Arabian Business in a statement last week that the regional business remained “strong” and had never been involved in the UK campaign on behalf of client Oakbay Capital.

As a separate legal entity, BPME, which has offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is not part of the subsequent adminstration proceedings and is therefore in a position to determine its own destiny, it said in a media statement on Sunday.

The statement reiterated that BPME and its UAE directors were never involved in the winning or servicing of the controversial Oakbay account in South Africa.

BPME said its UAE directors rejected the opportunity to work on the account, which it said reinforces BPME’s ability and intention to continue to trade under its own banner.

Present negotiations with Bell Pottinger Private Limited in the UK will see the ownership of BPME transferred to its management, according to the statement.

Exciting opportunity

As part of its future plans, BPME also announced that account manager Amy Piek has been promoted to director with immediate effect.

“This is an extremely exciting opportunity for us,” said Archie Berens, managing director of BPME.

“As an independent and financially secure business with a strong and experienced team in charge of its own destiny, it will now be open to us to consider a whole range of options.

“Our company has a long and proud tradition of working in the Middle East and it is now up to us to continue to build on that. 

“With my fellow directors Tim Falconer and Amy Piek, I cannot wait to get started on the next stage of the journey.  We are especially pleased to have been able to promote Amy, who has thoroughly deserved this and has a key role to play in our future.”

Tim Falconer, managing director of BPME in Dubai, added: “The scale of the opportunity ahead of us is significant, and we are also receiving enquiries from a wide range of potential investors, which we will consider on their merits.

He added: “The injection of fresh capital would enable us to make our business even stronger, through the acquisition of fresh talent and the addition of more services, especially in the digital arena.

“Between all three directors of BPME we have over 15 years’ experience in the Middle East, proof of our belief in and commitment to the region.

“Our business in the region remains strong and we are focused on continuing to deliver exceptional work on behalf of our clients.” 

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