Defence giant GEC signs up for Dome

General Electric Company, the defence electronics and telecoms conglomerate has confirmed that it will sponsor the Millennium Dome.

Details have yet to be finalised, but GEC is likely to be a part sponsor of one of the Dome’s 12 to 14 zones and will display exhibits of its products.

A spokesman for the company comments: “GEC is going to be one of the sponsors. We will use products from all the areas of our business, though of course there are sensitivities about defence products.” These include missile guidance systems.

But he says it is unlikely GEC would become one of the keystone “Founding Partners”, which sponsor a whole zone and pay 12m.

In February, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that Tesco, BT, BSkyB and employment services group Manpower would be among the Dome’s Founding Partners.

The GEC spokesman says it will not be one of the “lead sponsors”. It is thought that the company’s contribution could amount to some 6m to 8m.

Blair’s sponsorship announcement revealed that the New Millennium Experience Company, which runs the Dome, was about 90m short of its 150m sponsorship target, raising just 58.8m.

At the time, the NMEC said it would reveal two more sponsors “shortly”, worth a further 16m. It now says there is unlikely to be an announcement until June.

GEC non-executive director Sara Morrison is a director on the board of the NMEC.

At the end of last year, defence division GEC-Marconi started a search for a marketing and communications agency in an attempt to change its image (MW December 4 1997). It is understood the division is expecting to spend up to 12m on an image overhaul.

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