Bell Pottinger CEO quits amid Gupta scandal

Bell Pottinger CEO quits amid Gupta scandal

Bell Pottinger CEO quits amid Gupta scandal

In a damning statement, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) said on Tuesday that Bell Pottinger - whose clients range from multinational businesses to governments, public sector organisations, entrepreneurs and some of the world's richest individuals - had "brought the PR and communications industry into disrepute" with a campaign in South Africa which was accused of stirring up racial tensions. The DA alleged that Bell Pottinger had "exploited racial divisions on behalf of the Gupta family".

The bank, which previously enlisted Bell Pottinger in London for short-term media engagement campaigns, confirmed that it has stopped working with the firm.

The Bell Pottinger spokesman added that the firm would implement "strong measures to scrutinise work and build strong best practice culture".

Work carried out by Bell Pottinger for Bank of Ireland includes work with Capital Economics on an extensive risk assessment and contingency planning exercises to prepare for the impact of Brexit. That followed the resignation of chief executive James Henderson on Sunday in the wake of the company's own internal investigation into its PR campaign, which has been criticised for being racist and anti-white. Richard Edelman yesterday described Bell Pottinger's expulsion from the PRCA as a "proud moment for the industry", while many senior PR figures have publicly applauded the decision.

"We have used Bell Pottinger for specific projects in the past but will not be doing so in the future", the bank said in a statement.

TalkTalk, one of the UK's biggest broadband operators, had a contract with Bell Pottinger which ended earlier this year.

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Waitrose, which prides itself on its ethical stance, would not say whether it will definitely continue to employ the embattled agency.

Three organisations have already fired the agency over the scandal.

Since then, a number of clients - including worldwide bank HSBC, South African investment bank Investec, mining company Acacia and construction company Carillion - have walked away.

One of Bell Pottinger's major shareholders has handed back its portion after failing to find anyone to buy it.

And in a further blow, Chime Communications, co-owned by advertising giant WPP and Providence Equity Partners, is reported to have returned its 27 per cent stake in the group without compensation about a fortnight ago, according to Bloomberg.

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