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Sun 12 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Asda’a loses Avaya’s business

Technology firm blames a lack of focus for agency move but Asda’a claims no contracts had been signed.

IP telephony specialist Avaya is putting its Middle East public relations business out to pitch just months after incumbent Asda’a took control of the account, claiming the agency was not “delivering to expectations”.

Roger El-Tawil, channel and marketing manager for the Middle East & North Africa at Avaya, said there was “not enough focus” at the agency and that the multi-national technology firm would be looking at other public relations agencies to represent its interests across the region in the second half of the year.

“The fact of the matter is that they [Asda’a] have gone through a lot of changes recently and they weren’t delivering to expectations. There is not enough focus, that’s why we are looking at our options,” he said.

El-Tawil said that four Dubai-based public relations agencies would be asked to pitch for the account, and Asda’a would be invited to take part. A decision on which agency will represent Avaya is expected to be made at the end of the month.

“We are looking for an agency that can cover the region, and is focused. When you have a big company, you can get defocused.”

But Sunil John, managing director at Asda’a, said the agreement with Avaya was only verbal and no contract had been signed in the five months the two companies had been working together. John also said that the agency would not be taking up the information technology company’s invitation to re-pitch for the account.

“We have worked with them for five months and there is no signed agreement. We have decided not to take part in the pitch,” John said.

When pressed on why Asda’a did not want to be considered by Avaya in the new selection process, John added: “There are a few things between the client and us which we would not like to discuss.”

Avaya’s announcement comes just weeks after Microsoft said it planned to “review” Asda’a’s performance and would pitch-out PR representation for its North and South Gulf, Eastern Mediterranean and Saudi Arabia regions. But John said that no formal invitation had yet been made by Microsoft.

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