BenQ Mobile UK has gone into administration just weeks after the company pulled the plug on its German operation.
Managing director Philip Rambech (pictured), head of marketing Louise Forbes and 12 other staff are expected to be made redundant in the coming weeks. Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has already axed 16 positions.
In a statement, PWC says the move is a “direct consequence of the administration of BenQ Mobile Germany, which was the key supplier of products to BenQ Mobile UK”.
Taiwanese electronics group BenQ took over Siemens’ struggling mobile division last year but admitted at the end of September that it could not afford to pump more capital into the German business because there was only a “very slim chance” of turning it around. A question mark has been hanging over the brand in the UK since that decision (MW October 5).
Forbes joined Siemens Mobile as UK head of marketing from Wella in 2004 (MW October 14, 2004) and Rambech was appointed to run the UK division in October last year.
McCann Erickson handled the brand’s advertising in the UK, while TBWA/ Worldwide won its £25m global advertising account in August (MW August 10).
BenQ announced last week that it intended to drastically reduce its handset business in Western markets to allow it to focus on Asia and niche products in the short term.
But it claims it still has ambitions to be a global brand and wants to bring in private equity investors to help it meet that goal.