NestlÃ© Rowntree’s beleaguered managing director Chris White is understood to have brought in PR guru Matthew Freud to advise him on how to handle the press.
It follows disastrous media coverage at the start of the year, after White gave a frank interview to journalists (MW February 12).
The decision to bring in the PR specialist, whose agency Freud Communications is already on the NestlÃ© roster and handles brands such as NescafÃ©, follows the furore caused by White’s comments about the state of the business. His comments about NestlÃ© being “in crisis” and about the drop in sales of Kit-Kat made the News at Ten.
White axed the marketing strategy put in place by his predecessor Andrew Harrison, claiming that the company’s advertising won awards but was not selling products.
One insider says: “The perception is, this is a classic case of ‘guy fucks up, guy needs help’. It has been a PR disaster for NestlÃ©.”
Industry sources say Freud, who has handled PR for stars such as Chris Evans, Naomi Campbell and the Spice Girls, is working with White to advise him on handling the PR he has already generated since taking over the role last December. It is also understood that he will coach White on how to deal with PR in the future.
NestlÃ© Rowntree and the agency both deny that Freud is working directly with White.