Chairman: Anthony Good, OBE
The huge increase in the use of social media has had an impact on virtually all areas of business, and public relations is no exception. Sites like Twitter enable companies to communicate quickly and directly with their customers in a way that was unavailable a decade ago. The nature of the PR industry has therefore changed considerably, with firms exploring new ways to communicate with their audiences. Debrett’s list shines a light on the most influential people in this fast-changing industry where communication is everything.
Anthony B M Good, OBE founded his first PR company, Good Relations, in 1960 and it subsequently became the first public relations company to have a full listing on the London Stock Exchange. Over time, he developed strong ties with India before launching Good Relations India in 1988. The company is now a leading corporate strategy and PR firm, and Tony was responsible for introducing Marks & Spencer, Sun Life and Scottish & Newcastle to India. He is currently global chairman of Cox & Kings having held this position since 1974 and was responsible for its listing on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2009. He is also chairman of NutraHealth plc and a director of the UK India Business Council.
The Lord Bell. Chairman Bell Pottinger.
Chairman of Bell Pottinger, Lord Bell is one of the highest-profile figures in the industry and maintains an influence over the sector that is almost unrivalled. Bell left school at the age of 18, starting work at ABC TV as a post boy. In 1970 he helped to found Saatchi & Saatchi, later becoming the chairman and managing director. Bell has advised world leaders on international matters; he was hired by Iraq’s coalition provisional authority with the task of selling the concept of democracy to the Iraqi people. He ran successful campaigns for the Conservative Party in the 1979, 1983 and 1987 general elections. In 1990, he was awarded a knighthood by Lady Thatcher and was given a peerage by Tony Blair in 1998.
Quentin Bell. Founder Superbrands.
In 1973, Quentin Bell founded The Quentin Bell Organisation “with no clients, no money and no talent”. As chairman, Bell built the organisation into one of Europe’s leading consultancies. Bell was chairman of the PRCA between 1994 and 1996, where he instigated the Consultancy Management Standard for all member PR firms. Demonstrating Bell’s continued influence and relevance, the Standard has now been adopted by eleven countries around the world. Bell is an accepted TV and radio PR authority, regularly contributing his wisdom to programmes, such as the Radio 4 Today programme. Bell is ranked as one of the most influential PR players of the decade and has been voted PR Professional of the Year.
Neil Bennett. Chief executive Maitland.
When asked how his career began, Neil Bennett’s answer is “hustling. Starting early, working late and always making the extra call”. It served him well; he has been the chief executive of Maitland, Europe’s leading corporate and financial communications consultancy, since 2010. Bennett joined the company in 2004 as managing director having left Gavin Anderson where he had pioneered the firm’s fundamental turnaround. Bennett was the editor, columnist, broadcaster and journalist at the Sunday Telegraph for the 18 years preceding his positions in PR. For seven of these years, Bennett was the broadsheet’s award-winning City editor. He cites Charles Dickens as his inspiration, saying “I find his creativity, drive, work ethic, sense of fun and his genius an inspiration”.
Jacqueline Brock-Doyle, OBE. Chief executive Good Relations Group.
Jackie Brock-Doyle, the chief executive of the Good Relations Group, led the communications for the organisers of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as director of communications and public affairs. Securing this against the odds, Brock-Doyle cites this as one of her greatest achievements. She said that she got into her career “by accident really”, but with over 25 years of marketing and communications experience, Brock-Doyle is recognised as one of the world’s leading communications experts. She has worked for some of the world’s biggest brands such as Visa International, Mars, Coca Cola and Samsung. In 2012, Brock-Doyle was voted PR Week’s PR Professional of the Year as a result of her work in delivering London 2012.
The Lord Chadlington. Chief executive Huntsworth.
Lord Chadlington, the chief executive of Huntsworth Group, is without doubt one of the most powerful players in the PR industry and has remained so since he founded Shandwick in 1974. Within 17 years he had turned it into the UK’s leading PR agency. When he sold Shandwick in 1988, Chadlington became head of the ailing Huntsworth Group, which he has since turned into a hugely successful Marcoms group, boasting top agencies Citigate Dewe Rogerson, the Red Consultancy, Tonic Life and Grayling. He was made a life peer in 1996.
Alison Clarke. Chief executive Grayling UK & Ireland.
Alison Clarke is the chief executive of Grayling UK & Ireland. She has been with Grayling since 2011 and sits on the International Executive Board. In 2012, the firm was ranked number one in PR Week’s list of top digital consultancies. Prior to joining Grayling, she was based with its parent company Huntsworth plc as business development director. Alison co-chaired the joint industry taskforce on the measurement and evaluation of public relations, which lead to the production of the first evaluation Toolkit by the CIPR and PRCA. She is chairman of the Public Relations Consultants Association and former president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Matthew Freud. Chief executive Freud Communications.
PR mogul Matthew Freud is perhaps the best-connected PR professional in the industry. Following a three year apprenticeship in PR, the chief executive of Freud Communications founded his own agency aged 23, and has witnessed it grow into one of the largest in the UK. Freud is well known for attracting the great and good to his unforgettable house parties in Notting Hill, where politicians mix with celebrities, CEOs and media heavyweights. His clients include Burberry, BUPA, Google, Mars, Pepsi, ASDA and Vodafone and landmark campaigns include the London 2012 Olympics.
Andrew Grant. Senior partner Tulchan Communications.
As senior partner of Tulchan Communications, Andrew Grant is one of the most highly respected City PR people. He boasts a depth of experience and a list of clients who, old or new, are second to none. As a former fixture at Brunswick, where he transformed the company into an international competitor, Grant left the company to set up his own agency. Grant has deliberately not gone down the more political, public affairs route, differentiating him from the direction chosen by some of his rivals in the industry. His clients include Lloyds Bank, Standard Lie and Petrofac.
Jeremy Galbraith. Global chairman public affairs Burson-Marsteller.
Jeremy Gailbraith is the CEO Europe, Middle East and Africa and global chief strategy officer for Burson-Marsteller. Burson-Marsteller was one of the first US public relations companies to make a name for itself in Europe. When, in 2007, Gailbraith took over the European office, it was being outshone by a number of its competitors. With Gailbraith at the helm, however, the firm has increased its footprint on the continent and experienced a remarkable resurgence. Gailbraith began his career working for a senior Conservative member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee in the House of Commons. In 1995, he joined Burson-Marsteller to lead their Public Affairs practice in the UK.
D-J Collins. Co-founder and partner Milltown Partners.
D-J Collins is one of the best known communication directors in the country. He is the former vice-president of public policy and communications for Google EMEA having joined the company in 2006. Prior to this, Collins was particularly active in the Trade Union movement and he has been a key adviser to the Labour Party for a number of years. In 2012 Collins announced that he would be co-founding his own communications company with Paddy Harverson, the former communications secretary to Clarence House.
Tony Langham. Chief executive Lansons Communications.
Tony Langham is the co-founder and chief executive at Lansons Communications, one of the top five independent PR companies in the UK. Langham co-founded the company in 1989 and over the last 25 years he has advised organisations, governments and financial services companies on their image and reputation. In his role as chief executive, Langham also heads up the agency’s Corporate Practice. In 2004 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Public Relations Consultants’ Association for outstanding contribution to the UK PR industry. Langham is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Robert Leaf. Chairman Robert S Leaf Consultants.
Robert Leaf is the father of PR. Having spent over 50 years in the business, Leaf has witnessed many important changes to the industry. Beginning his career in 1957 as the trainee at Burson-Marsteller’s New York office, he travelled around the world and in some countries, opened their first PR offices. Leaf says: “I think my major accomplishment was spreading PR throughout the world. I started the first PR in Russia during the Cold War...[and]...I signed an agreement in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing putting the Chinese Government into PR for the first time.” He became chairman of Burson-Marsteller in 1985, and is the chairman of Robert S Leaf Consultants. He is one of the most knowledgeable counsellors in international public relations.
Craig Oliver. Director of communications 10 Downing Street.
As director of communications at 10 Downing Street, Craig Oliver has the most powerful job in government communications, carrying the authority of David Cameron and George Osborne. Educated at Stirling High School, Oliver went on to attend St Andrew’s University where he read English literature and then attended the Cardiff School of Journalism, where he graduated with a diploma in broadcast journalism. He went on to be head of BBC Global News and made his name revamping the BBC News at Ten and the News at Six, two of the most-watched news programmes, before joining Downing Street in 2011. He has also worked for Channel 4 and ITV News.
Richard Oldworth. Chairman Buchanan Communications.
Richard Oldworth initially wanted a career in motor racing, but at a time when motorsport sponsorship was difficult to come by he abandoned this dream to concentrate on accountancy. Today he is the chairman of Buchanan Communications, which with its wealth of experience is one of the UK’s leading financial communications consultancies. He joined the company in 1984 with a background in investment banking having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG. Oldworth has been concerned with all dimensions of financial communications from IPO to major cross-border contested transactions. Most of his advisory work is concentrated on the financial and media divisions.
Sir Alan Parker. Founder Brunswick Group.
Alan Parker is the founder and chairman of the Brunswick Group. Parker passed four A levels and the Oxford entrance exam but was denied a place at the university due to his anti-establishment views. Instead, Parker left school at 18 to manage a rock band and work on oil rigs. Today, the impeccably connected Brunswick founder has been described as the “great conduit” between Whitehall and the City. Both the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister David Cameron attended his wedding and Parker is godfather to one of Brown’s children. Parker founded the Brunswick group in 1987, and it is now one of the world’s leading public relations companies.
Roland Rudd. Co-founder RLM Finsbury.
Roland Rudd is a co-founder of RLM Finsbury, a reliable adviser to a number of the world’s leading corporations and an international forerunner of strategic communications. Like City rival Sir Alan Parker, Rudd straddles the worlds of the City, Westminster and the media. In recent years he has become more of a political figure, thanks to his relationships with Ed Balls, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, who is godfather to one of his children. He founded the high profile City PR agency with Rupert Younger in 1994, and before this worked as a financial journalist on the Financial Times and The Times.
John Waples. Head of UK strategic communications FTI Consulting.
John Waples is the senior managing director and the head of UK strategic communications at FTI Consulting, having joined the agency in February 2010. Waples’s main clients are Tesco, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Heritage Oil, AIA, Virgin Money, Jupiter Asset Management and Southern Cross. Prior to life at FTI, Waples had a strong background in journalism having been at The Sunday Times for 16 years, where he had risen to the esteemed rank of business editor. Waples won numerous awards as a journalist, including twice being shortlisted for the prestigious accolade of UK Press Gazette Business journalist of the year award.
Prof Tim Traverse-Healy, OBE. Director Centre for Public Affairs Studies.
While Tim Traverse-Healy was serving in the marines during World War II, one day a selection of books were deposited in a supply drop and one contained details about pursuing a career in PR. When Traverse-Healy left the forces a year later, he took two rooms in Lincoln’s Inn, put a brass plate above the door and set up his own PR practice. Having experiences the tragedies of war, Traverse-Healy states that he recognised that “effective communications were essential to the establishment of meaningful relations between institutions and the public at large. Since this time, Traverse-Healy has been an advisor to many companies and academic bodies, including Boots, Ford Europe, the NHS, Nat West and the International Institute of Corporate Responsibility.
Ian Wright. Corporate relations director Diageo.
Ian Wright, the corporate relations director of Diageo, won a scholarship to study at Cambridge. He worked as a fork-lift truck driver to help subsidise his scholarship and between 1980 and 1981 he was president of the Cambridge Student Union. Upon leaving university, Wright worked as a political organiser for the SDP before moving into PR. He has been active in third-party politics since the 1970s and has worked as an adviser to a number of politicians such as Nick Clegg and Menzies Campbell. For Wright, it was “bad luck” that led him to his career. “I had always wanted to be a journalist but business fascinated me. I am fortunate that I have been able to write for a living for 30 years without ever having to file.”
Guto Harri. Director of communication News UK.
Guto Harri began life as a journalist, working as a correspondent for the BBC until 2008. He credits journalism as great training for many professions, but especially PR as both careers about communication: as a journalist you are telling someone else’s story, in PR you are telling your story. After leaving the BBC, Harri was thrust into City Hall when he was appointed director of communications at the London Mayor’s Office. He therefore learnt on the job, saying working for Boris Johnson was “a rollercoaster ride” and crediting the London Mayor as a huge influence. He how hold huge influence as the director of communication for News UK.