Bell Pottinger ruling mutes wedding bells

11 September 2017 - 06:47 By steve bird
TROUBLED TIMES Former Bell Pottinger boss James Henderson and Heather Kerzner have postponed their November wedding because they 'have a lot on their plate'
TROUBLED TIMES Former Bell Pottinger boss James Henderson and Heather Kerzner have postponed their November wedding because they 'have a lot on their plate'
Image: David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

With a guest list that included royalty, rock stars, tycoons, models and politicians, their wedding should have been the high society event of the year.

But, with the collapse in fortunes of the PR firm Bell Pottinger amid allegations that it incited race hatred in South Africa, James Henderson, its former boss, and Heather Kerzner, his fiancée and a wealthy socialite, have called off the ceremony.

The couple were due to marry in November.

The "postponement" is particularly embarrassing for Kerzner, ex-wife of SA hotel billionaire Sol Kerzner. She invested a sizeable part of her fortune to buy 15% of Bell Pottinger.

That and Henderson's stake gave them 40% of the company - but it is now virtually worthless.

Henderson resigned as CEO of the company shortly before it was thrown out of the British PR trade association for bringing the industry into disrepute.

A source close to the couple insisted the relationship was not in jeopardy from the loss of their investment or the company's possible demise.

"The wedding will go ahead next year," said one source. "They're still together. It's just they've got a lot on their plate."

 In 2010, Henderson merged his PR company with Bell Pottinger. With offices around the world and multimillion-pound contracts advising the rich and powerful, the future looked promising.

Five years later, Henderson was introduced by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, one of his clients, to Kerzner at a charity fundraising party.

The glamorous 48-year-old New Yorker hobnobs with the rich and famous, including Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, politician Boris Johnson and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Her first husband, whom she married aged 24, was a successful US banker. They separated and in 2000 she married Kerzner, 34 years her senior. They divorced in 2011.

 Henderson and Heather Kerzner have not been available for comment.

The Middle East arm of Bell Pottinger is in talks to separate from its British parent that is expected to go into administration this week, the unit said on Sunday.

 Bell Pottinger Middle East, a separate legal entity based in the United Arab Emirates but still under the London parent, is not part of the administration proceedings and is in talks to "formalise a separation from its current owner".

Bell Pottinger's Asian arm announced on Friday it would separate from the London parent and rename itself as Klareco Communications.

-©The Sunday Telegraph, Reuters

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