SANTA CLARA, CA —  Intel has consolidated its PR business in the US and other key global markets with WE Communications, hiring the firm for responsibilities that WPP firms have handled for more than a dozen years, PRovoke has learned.

After a roughly six-month review process, Intel selected WE to handle its corporate communications mandate in the US, six European countries (the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Russia), India, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, sources said.

WE replaces a WPP cross-agency team in the US and H+K Strategies in those specific European markets.

WPP firms have, however, retained some of their Intel business, as have local firms that handle the company's communications in markets including Germany and Australia. Incumbent Ogilvy will continue to work on Intel China, which has also added Axicom to its domestic PR roster.  H+K will continue working with the company in EMEA, serving as Intel's agency in specific markets including Sweden.

BCW has also picked up Intel’s business in Canada, replacing Ketchum, and will continue serving the account in Central and Latin America. Other agencies on the company’s roster include Sard Verbinnen, which handles crisis communications, and Zeno, which covers Intel’s drone business.

Neither Intel nor WE would provide comment. Sources, however, say the deal could become quite lucrative for WE as the partnership grows over time.

The move comes as Intel positions itself as a player in furthering innovations like AI and autonomous vehicles. Last year, the company grew its social media efforts to make its support of cutting-edge technology better known among influencers and media in the tech space.

It also comes on the heels of internal changes at Intel, including new leadership in its marcomms function. In July, Claire Dixon, who had been leading VMWare’s comms, joined Intel as its chief communications officer. She replaced Laura Anderson, who left Intel after nearly two decades, and now leads communications for tech investment firm Silver Lake.

In October, Karen Walker joined Intel as CMO after 11 years at Cisco, the last five of which she served as that company’s CMO. She replaced Steve Fund, who the company dismissed the previous January.

Widely known as one of the world’s largest computer chip makers, Intel in early 2018 took a major reputational and financial hit with news that a design flaw in its processors put users’ private information, such as security keys, passwords and files, at risk — and then the fix caused problems, too.

The company does, however, also produce a portfolio of products that enable advanced technology like AI and driverless cars. The company is keen to step up understanding of the latter initiatives, for which it remains less well known.