Bell Pottinger CEO Quits Over South African Campaign, BBC Says

  • Henderson denies he was involved in campaign, broadcaster says
  • Bell Pottinger appealed finding that it breached industry code

James Henderson resigned as chief executive officer of U.K-based public relations firm Bell Pottinger LLP, after an industry body found it breached its code of conduct over work done for members of the Gupta family in South Africa, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing Henderson.

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition party, filed a complaint against Bell Pottinger, accusing it of spearheading a campaign for the Guptas that was aimed at dividing the country along racial lines. While Henderson denied involvement in the campaign, he said he had to take responsibility for the damage it caused, the BBC cited him as saying.

A report by the South Africa’s graft ombudsman implied that Gupta family members, who are friends with President Jacob Zuma and are in business with his son, used their political connections to influence cabinet appointments and the issuing of state contracts. Zuma and the Guptas deny the allegations.

Bell Pottinger has appealed the findings by the London-based Public Relations and Communications Association, which is due to publish its final ruling on Tuesday.

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