Top in-house PRs on Holmes Report Influencer 100 list

The Holmes Report has just published the latest edition of The Influence 100 list of the world’s most important in-house communicators which I blogged about last year when the first list came out.

As you’d expect all those who responded to the survey are responsible for hiring and firing public relations consultancies. The number responsible for also hiring digital and social media firms has increased from 79 per cent last year to 86 per cent this year.

A promising statistic is that in 58 per cent of companies public relations has primary responsibility for social media work and in just eight per cent of companies does the marketing department have primary responsibility for social media. In the remaining 31 per cent of companies responsibility for digital and social media is shared between different departments.

Just under a third of the Influence 100 have active Twitter accounts (used in the last three months) which is surprising given that social media is likely to be a priority for most, if not all, of their companies. The Holmes Report highlights “prolific tweeters such as Stephen Forshaw, Kaiser Kuo, Margit Wennmachers and Corey duBrowa.”

Just under half of those that responded to a survey said that they chose public relations as their first career (48 per cent) which is disappointingly low and down from last year’s 56 per cent. You wouldn’t expect to see such a shockingly low number if you did a survey amongst heads in other strategic management disciplines such as law or finance. And depressingly there are still some people who moved straight from journalism into a senior public relations role.

On a more positive note 54 per cent report directly to the chairman or chief executive, with just 12 per cent reporting to the chief marketing officer (although that’s still 12 per cent too many!) Interestingly nine per cent report to the chief financial officer with the remaining 25 per cent reporting “elsewhere”.

The budget responsibility summary is also worth a look as it shows that between them the 100 most influential corporate communicators in the world are likely responsible for public relations budgets of more than $3 billion. On average, less than half of that amount is spent with PR agencies. This is a trend I expect to see increase as more and more activity is done in-house with external spend being on strategic consultancy rather than simple implementation.

Some of the interesting names I’ve spotted are:

  • Khalid I Abubshait: Executive Director of Saudi Aramco, “the world’s largest private company”
  • Sixtine Bouygues: Director, Strategy and Corporate Communication at the European Commission
  • Sue Clark: Managing Director, Europe of SABMiller and “that rarity in the PR world, a communications head who moved into the C-suite to become managing director”
  • Stepen Doherty: Managing Director, Head of Corporate Communications at Barclays
  • Dominic Fry: Director of Comms and Investor Relations for Marks & Spencer
  • Pierre Goad: Co-Head of Group Communications at HSBC
  • Aida Greenbury: Managing Director of Sustainability at Asia Pulp & Paper which must be “one of the most challenging – and controversial – mandates in the PR world”
  • Herbert Heitmann: EVP External Communications at Royal Dutch Shell who I had the pleasure of meeting last week when I spoke at the European Association of Communications Directors forum in Amsterdam
  • Kate James: Chief Communications Officers at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which must be one of the best PR jobs in the world
  • Young-kee Kim: EVP, Chief Relations Officer at LG Electronics in Korea
  • Andre Manning: VP, Global Head of External Communications at Philips in Amsterdam who I shared a speaker platform with last week at the EACD forum where we discussed public relations ethics
  • Rich Mkhondo: Head of Corporate Affairs for MTN Group, the South African telecoms giant
  • Paul Mylrea: Director of Communications at the BBC and a past president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)
  • Simon Pearce: Director of Strategic Communications for the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi he is “entrusted with building and protecting Abu Dhabi’s reputation, Pearce has a big budget and an even bigger remit.”
  • Mark Penn: Corporate Vice President of Strategic and Special Projects at Microsoft which he joined relatively recently having switched from global CEO at Burson-Marsteller which acquired his Penn Schoen Berland strategic research consultancy
  • Michael Prescott: Group Director of Communications at BT Group who joined from the Sunday Times where he was political editor so it will be interesting to see his transition to a senior PR role
  • Rudolf Ramsauer: SVP, Corporate Communications Director for Nestle, a company that appears to be “a magnet for controversy”
  • Debasis Ray: Head, Corporate Communications at Tata Motors, the Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover
  • Simon Sproule: Corporate VP, Global Marketing Communications at Nissan Motor Company where he is responsible for its innovative ‘brand journalism’ strategy
  • Michael Stewart: Partner, Global Director of Comms for Mckinsey & Company so who couldn’t fail to be impressed by the pedigree of the company he keeps
  • Phil Thomson: SVP, Global Communications at GlaxoSmithKline
  • Anne Villemoes: Director of Corporate Communications for Danish Crown who did a speech to the European Association of Communications Directors titled “Managing Reputation When You Kill for a Living”
  • Rachel Whetstone: SVP, Communications and Public Policy for Google who is a Brit doing well in California in one of the world’s biggest PR jobs
  • Ian Wright: Corporate Relations Director at Diageo