Lord Bell departs from Bell Pottinger to open new PR firm Sans Frontières

Lord Bell has departed from his namesake agency

Lord Tim Bell has stepped down from his namesake PR agency, putting an end to a 30-year tenure.

The Bell Pottinger founder, and former PR chief to Margaret Thatcher announced the intention to step down with immediate effect yesterday (25 August), with plans to open a new firm, Sans Frontières.

In a statement, in which Bell himself was not quoted, the company said that the he "would like to step back from the day-to-day running of the business, but not to retire and from next year he will continue to provide his personal advice to clients through a new business, which he will be forming."

The 74-year-old PR luminary has overseen some controversial clients in his time, having taken on jobs relating to the Saudi Arabian government and other political leaders. He established himself as a key advisor to Margaret Thatcher in the 80s, prior to which he helped found Saatchi & Saatchi.

"Tim has been the founder and driver of this business since he started it in 1987. We are grateful for all he has achieved for both the PR industry globally and in building Bell Pottinger into a household name," said Bell Pottinger chief executive James Henderson in a statement.

"He does not intend to retire totally and next year will be setting up a strategic consultancy to be named Sans Frontieres. He will always be the founder of this business and we will find ways of mutually working together with him in his new business where there are clients that need a combined expertise."

Little is known about the guru's new venture, but one "leading PR figure" told the Times that his resignation from his own agency didn't come as a surprise, saying: "Ultimately, he did not fit with the kind of corporate image Bell Pottinger wanted to project," in the end.

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