BT hires image-maker Brunswick

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The Independent Online

British Telecom has brought in the City's best-known firm of spin doctors in an attempt to restore its battered image. Brunswick, the public relations company run by Alan Parker, has been hired to provide "background project advice" to Sir Peter Bonfield, BT's chief executive.

British Telecom has brought in the City's best-known firm of spin doctors in an attempt to restore its battered image. Brunswick, the public relations company run by Alan Parker, has been hired to provide "background project advice" to Sir Peter Bonfield, BT's chief executive.

Brunswick is well-versed in dealing with corporations and organisations in crisis. Marks & Spencer called on its services when a boardroom battle broke out over who would succeed Sir Richard Greenbury as chairman. It was also brought in when Martin Taylor resigned abruptly from Barclays, leaving the bank without a chief executive. More recently it defended the Stock Exchange against a hostile bid from Sweden's OM Gruppen.

Mr Parker, the son of the former British Rail chairman Sir Peter Parker, advised BT on the presentation of its radical restructuring plan unveiled last week. The reorganisation will see BT break into six separate businesses, four of which will be floated on the stock market.

Brunswick has not taken over as BT's main City public relations adviser. That role continues to be performed by Maitland Consultancy. However, Brunswick is thought to be keen to become more closely involved with BT.

The involvement of Brunswick means that BT now has three external public relations companies advising it in addition to its own large in-house PR department, run by Robin Pauley, a former journalist at the Financial Times. Citigate Dewe Rogerson has been appointed to handle the flotation of Yell, which encompasses BT's directories and e-commerce businesses.

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