Bell Pottinger City chief departs amid racism scandal

Bell Pottinger City chief departs amid racism scandal

Banking giant HSBC cut ties with Bell Pottinger and the PR agency's second-biggest shareholder walked away on Tuesday after it was thrown out of an industry body for running a campaign that the political opposition said had inflamed racial tensions. A source told The Guardian UK that a number of senior figures in the company who have directly brought money into the firm have also quit.

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

Bell Pottinger worked with the president's son and the influential Gupta family on the campaign.

HSBC and Carillion have said that they will no longer work with Bell Pottinger, though neither firm specified the reason why.

Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills published its findings on Monday, 4 September and concluded that Bell Pottinger's South African campaign was "potentially racially divisive" and breached ethical principles.

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




Chief executive James Henderson resigned on Sunday and the company said it would move quickly to appoint his replacement.

In response to the decision, Bell Pottinger said it "accepts that there are lessons to be learned but disputes the basis on which the ruling was made" and said that it would "refocus on delivering outstanding work for our clients and looking after our people".

TalkTalk, one of the UK's biggest broadband operators, had a contract with the agency that ended this year.

What makes this outcome more rewarding is that this woeful outcome for Bell Pottinger has been wrought without the need for society to introduce expensive litigation action for the transgressor to suffer the consequences of its unwarranted conduct.

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

Oakbay was a lucrative account for Bell Pottinger, worth £100,000 ($130,000) a month, according to an email sent by former CEO Tim Bell who spoke on the BBC's "Newsnight" program Monday.

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