Hitachi storage unit Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST) has selected Porter-Novelli and Voce Communications to handle its lucrative international PR business, following a pitch that displaced incumbent agency Weber Shandwick.

The two agencies pitched together for the brief, which covers North America and EMEA and is estimated in the seven-figure range.

Jim Pascoe, from Hitachi GST’s corporate marketing team, told the Holmes Report that the business covers product and corporate communications. Four agencies took part in the final round of the review.

Asia-Pacific was not included in the pitch, and remains with six-year incumbent Weber Shandwick.

Porter-Novelli partner and MD Brad MacAfee said that a major focus of the work will be on building a stronger consumer profile for Hitachi GST, in particular through its LifeStudio external hard drive range. “If you look at the consumer external HD market, it’s been very much about external design and storage space,” he said. “And then you pick the least costly.”

Hitachi GST, continued MacAfee, believes its LifeStudio product brings an “iPod-like” level of innovation to the segment. “They have a new device that is built around collaboration and sharing with an elegant user interface and experience. They also want to move closer into a consumer brand. We looked at that as a fantastic opportunity for us to get behind.”

In addition the Porter Novelli/Voce team will oversee the G-Tech product range, and Hitachi GST’s broader corporate reputation and brand communications.

In North America, the business will be led by Voce VP Matt Podboy. The Silicon Valley powerhouse has partnered with Porter Novelli in the past, said MacAfee.

In EMEA, Porter Novelli’s London office will oversee the business, focusing on the UK, France, Germany and Russia.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese tech giant Hitachi, Hitachi GST is expected to spin off from its giant parent company after plans were announced for an IPO.