My almost meeting yesterday with Bell Pottinger’s cucumber cool bossman

By Alec Hogg

London’s weather was glorious yesterday. My mood, though, could have been better.

I was hoping for answers to questions many South Africans are asking – what exactly did Bell Pottinger do for the Guptas and why? And one that’s been puzzling the Biznews team – why did they make an example of us and “go for the kill” as we recently discovered in the GuptaLeaks emails?

It was not to be. Minutes before arriving where Bell Pottinger MD James Henderson requested we meet at 2pm, his secretary called to postpone for three hours hence. Her boss was “caught up at lunch”. An hour before the rescheduled time, she called once more, this time to call it off completely with no future commitment as “from tomorrow he is away on holiday for three weeks.”

Whatever else you may think of the man, James Henderson is certainly one cool customer. With SA’s leader of the opposition actively urging BellPott clients to fire the agency; and the UK PR industry’s umbrella body having scheduled a disciplinary hearing for August 18, Bell Pottinger’s bossman is off on his hols. Brings new meaning to the saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

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