DUSSELDORF, GERMANY — Ketchum has appointed Peter Mergemeier (pictured) as its chief operating officer in Germany to evolve its communications services, processes and structures, including corporate culture and recruitment. He comes from Prodeers (Hirschen Group) and has also held senior leadership roles at Saatchi & Saatchi, Jung von Matt, Grey and HAVAS. Previous COO Simone Hoch has taken on the role of chief client officer and will be focused on developing client excellence and new business.

BIRMINGHAM, UK — The PRCA has launched an investigation into the sudden closure of Midlands-based member agency Superdream, which went into administration on 5 July with the loss of 23 jobs. The agency listed British Athletics, Bosch, Holy Moly and Wasps Rugby among its clients. PRCA director general Francis Ingham said: “It is a source of deep regret whenever any PR agency folds, but it is of course desperately bad personal news for its employees. We will be offering all of its former employees free individual PRCA membership for the next 12 months. In this way, they will be able to attend PRCA events, and use PRCA resources, to help them find new roles as quickly as possible. I have instructed our Professional Practices Committee to examine the manner in which the company closed to see if the actions of its senior management met the standards of conduct expected of PRCA members.”

LONDON — The Unmistakables, the new agency that aims to help clients reach diverse and minority audiences, has extended its team with three new hires. Former Freuds partner Ben Brooks-Dutton joins as planning and campaigns consultant; Ruth Hoyal joins as insight & strategy consultant from Girl Effect; and Sara Chandran joins as a consultant from B2B tech agency Chameleon.

LONDON — Phil Caplin, the former director of broadcast at Good Relations, has launched a new broadcast consultancy, Broadcast Revolution, to deliver broadcast coverage for brands across TV, radio and owned channels.

LONDON — The CIPR's #AIinPR Panel, chaired by Metia MD Stephen Waddington, has published the first in a series of guides to help professionals understand the impact of artificial intelligence on public relations. An introduction to AI in PR, written by Jean Valin Hon, principal of Valin Strategic Communications, explores the threats and opportunities for AI in PR and features examples of successful AI applications. The panel will publish other skills guides on AI and data ethics, internal communications, media, and workflow.

LONDON — Nationwide Building Society’s former head of social media and digital communications, Paul Beadle, has returned to financial services communications consultancy MRM. Beadle first joined MRM in 2017 to head up its digital and social media offering before moving back in-house to manage social media for insurer NFU Mutual. Beadle rejoins MRM as an associate director in the corporate and consumer finance team, with responsibility for social media and digital communications.

LONDON — Food and drink PR specialist Richmond & Towers has been appointed by fresh produce supplier G’s Fresh to launch its Love Beets brand into Tesco supermarkets across the UK with a “Live Colourfully” PR, content creation and social media campaign.

LONDON — Student network UniDays has developed an “Affinity Index”, AFFDEX, of how Gen Z feel about the world’s biggest brands, based on responses from 17,500 students across the US and the UK. The index found that – despite being widely-characterised as environmentally and socially conscientious – Gen Z still prioritise pragmatic concerns over ethical ones: in 11 of the 12 industries, ethical concerns were not in the top three most important considerations. Nike had the highest “Affinity Score” of the 200+ companies included.

LONDON — The Travel Lifestyle Network, a global alliance of travel and lifestyle communications specialists, has appointed a new executive chairman and board team. The network comprises 17 independent PR agencies operating across 23 markets. Virginie Le Norgant, director of GroupExpression in France, is the new executive chair, following Hanna Kleber, owner of German agency KPRN Network. Kleber becomes honorary chairman. Paul Charles, CEO of The PC Agency in the UK, represents Europe on the board; Paul Hicks, co-founder of Grebstad Hicks Communications in Hong Kong will represent Asia members, while David Zapata, CEO of Zapwater Communications has been reappointed and will continue to represent the Americas.

LONDON — Automated parcel locker company InPost has appointed Red Lorry Yellow Lorry as its UK PR agency following a competitive pitch. InPost is working with some of the UK’s largest retailers, including Boohoo, ASOS, French Connection, Holland & Barrett, JD Sports. The brief includes corporate messaging and content targeting the retail and ecommerce sectors through thought leadership, interviews, speaking engagements and research campaigns.

CO. LOUTH, IRELAND — Irish CBD-based product producer Celtic Wind Crops has appointed Kazoo Communications to help launch the brand into the UK market. The brief covers consumer PR and social media with the aim of raising awareness of the Celtic Wind brand and helping to educate the media and consumers about what CBD oil is and how it can best be used. The global market for hemp-based CBD oil is expected to be worth $2.2bn by 2020.

LONDON — Payment technology company Basware has appointed Good Relations to launch a thought leadership initiative. The agency will work with Basware's global marketing team to engage finance and procurement decision makers inthe company’s Visible Commerce Initiative, a call to action to embrace technology and data to create a stronger, more responsible economy. The team will be led by James Ralph, director of Good Relations’ business and corporate practice.

LONDON — Consumer, B2B and technology agency Spreckley has won the brief to manage an integrated media relations and thought leadership-driven content management programme for Kyocera Document Solutions UK after a competitive pitch. Spreckley will work with the marketing team to raise awareness of the company’s evolution from a print manufacturer to an IT service provider within the IT and vertical trade media.