Bell Pottinger has announced the resignation of its chairman and founder Lord Bell.
Bell, who was the former communications adviser to Margaret Thatcher, announced his departure in a statement, adding that he planned to set up his own strategic consultancy. His new company Sans Frontières was the original name given to the public relations firm Bell set up in 1987, which he then renamed Bell Pottinger.
Bell gained prominence in the public relations world due to his willingness to advise the governments of undemocratic countries such as Belarus and Saudi Arabia, an approach which did not sit easily with the more corporate direction of Bell Pottinger, according to sources quoted in the Financial Times.
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Bell landed himself in trouble with the City in 2014 when, during an interview, he labelled bankers “complete criminals”, a comment which rattled the firm whose clients included Investec.
At the time, Investec’s head of investment banking Andrew Pinder shrugged off the insult, simply referring to the comment as “an interesting view”.
Bell continues to own about 7 percent of Bell Pottinger, which became a partnership after a management buyout from Chime Communications in 2012.
Non-executive director Mark Smith, who has been involved in the company since it was founded, will become chairman with immediate effect.