Bell Pottinger founder says more directors should resign over Gupta PR saga

The PR Communications Association is reported to have slapped the firm with the harshest possible penalty for a campaign commissioned by the Gupta-owned Oakbay Capital.

Picture: @BellPottinger/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The founder of Bell Pottinger Lord Bell says directors at the PR firm should resign after an independent probe into work done for the Guptas revealed that the firm breached ethical principles.

Bell has also reacted to reports that the firm has been kicked out of the body that regulates PR and communication agencies in the United Kingdom.

He says the company has done something stupid.

The Public Relations and Communications Association is reported to have slapped the firm with the harshest possible penalty for a campaign commissioned by the Gupta-owned Oakbay Capital.

The Democratic Alliance lodged a formal complaint with the body in July, accusing Bell Pottinger of deliberately fanning racial tensions in South Africa, at the behest of the Guptas.

Bell says it’s obvious the firm brought this on itself.

“I think the company should offer shares to other people and it should be run by somebody else.”

In a statement earlier on Monday, Bell Pottinger's former CEO James Henderson said after studying the findings of the probe, he decided that it’s time for new leadership at the firm.

He reiterated that he had nothing to do with the Oakbay account, claiming that he was misled by his colleagues.

When asked if it was possible for Henderson to be misled in the campaign, Bell said no.

“I think it’s impossible. He would have known, he did know about it.”

Despite this, Henderson says that as a CEO, he accepts that he has must take ultimate executive responsibility.

By vacating his position, Henderson says he is putting the best interests of the agency and its staff first.

It is understood that he will, however, remain on the firm's board.

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