Clock Ticks for Bell Pottinger

James Henderson who quit as chief executive at the weekend and his fiancée Heather Kerzner own 37 per cent of the PR firm

James Henderson who quit as chief executive at the weekend and his fiancée Heather Kerzner own 37 per cent of the PR firm

Britain's Bell Pottinger has put itself up for sale after it lost clients for running a racially charged campaign in South Africa, potentially bringing down the curtain on one of the world's leading public relations agencies.

Leaked e-mails showed that Bell Pottinger had said the campaign needed to stress the continued "existence of economic apartheid".

We are pleased that the UK's Public Relations Communication Association has taken steps to expel Bell Pottinger from its ranks as a result of the complaint raised by the DA.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) believes it is all too easy for senior management to sit back and blame lower-ranking colleagues for the mess and turmoil they have caused not only their firm but the people of a foreign country.

Worldwide 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.

In July, the PR firm's chief executive, James Henderson, offered an "unequivocable and absolute" apology for an "inappropriate and offensive" social media campaign.

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"We have used Bell Pottinger for specific projects in the past but will not be doing so in the future", said a spokesperson for HSBC when speaking to The Independent.

Banking giant HSBC, Clydesdale Bank, TalkTalk and construction company Carillion are the latest companies to sever ties with the British PR firm in light of devastating findings into its account for the Gupta family, according to The Guardian UK.

In a statement, Bell Pottinger said it accepted there were lessons to be learned, but disputed "the basis on which the ruling was made".

Veteran spin doctor Chris Vick told HuffPostSA on Tuesday Bell Pottinger is "as good as dead" and shouldn't bother attempting to recover.

Three organisations have already fired the agency over the scandal.

Previously, Investec, challenger bank CYBG had already terminated their relationship with the company. Another shareholder - Mark Smith - remains in place as chairman, but a number of senior figures have departed the agency in recent days, including corporate and financial head John Sunnucks - one of Bell Pottinger's key rainmakers.

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