The Holmes Report |The 100 most important in-house communicators in the world

The Holmes Report has researched an interesting list of the 100 Most Important In-house Communicators in the World. It is a fascinating compilation of 100 of the most senior corporate communications professionals in some of the world’s largest companies who are responsible for the reputation management of some enviable and challenging brands.
It’s also released the now seemingly mandatory infographic summarising the list (see the end of this post). Some of the key facts on the infographic include:
  • Edelman is the most respected public relations agency, followed by Burson-Marsteller, Waggener Edstrom and Weber Shandwick.
  • In 60% of the organisations responding to the survey, public relations has primary responsibility for social media, while in 20% responsibility is shared between several departments, including PR. Just 8% have social media led by marketing, with customer service and IT having the lead in 4% each, and the remaining 4% being elsewhere (can’t think where – legal or HR perhaps?)
  • Everyone on the list has responsibility for hiring and firing PR agencies, but most are also primary decision makers on digital and social media agencies (79%), event management companies (50%) and sponsorship (46%). Just 25% have a primary role over advertising agencies.
About half of the list are based in the US, but many countries are represented including the UK. I’ve pulled out some of the UK-related names that I found interesting:
Lord Stephen Carter, Chief Marketing, Strategy & Comms Officer at Alcatel-Luncent in France and previously head of strategy for Prime Minister Gordon Brown after being CEO at Alan Parker’s Brunswick.
Sue Clark, Corporate Affairs Director at SAB Miller in London having previously been at Railtrack and Scottish Power.
Thomas Delabriere, Marketing Director at Innocent Drinks is interesting because he’s from one of the smallest companies on the list, but was brought in to bring a “dose of corporate heft” as he’d previously been at PepsiCo, Unilever and Danone.
Dominic Fry, Director of Comms & Investor Relations at Marks & Spencer having previously had similar roles at the Channel Tunnel, J Sainsbury and Scottish Power as well as various heavyweight corporate PR firms.
Pierre Goad, Co-head of Group Comms at HSBC in London.
Peter Henshaw, Group Head of Comms at BP has the enormous challenge of “rehabilitating BP’s battered reputation”. Intriguingly, he’s a lawyer by background and has previously held a variety of both legal and communications roles.
Gaye Hudson, VP, EMEA Corporate Comms for Oracle is unusual because she’s only responsible for EMEA whereas most people on the list have a global remit.
Howell James, Corporate Affairs Director at Barclays is another graduate of Downing Street having worked for two prime ministers – Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Company Secretary and Group Corporate & Legal Affairs Director for Tesco is another who spent significant time working for UK government before joining the corporate sector.
Lucas van Praag, Head of Corporate Comms at Goldman Sachs in London has the unenviable task of working on repairing the reputation of one of the world’s most pilloried investment banks.
Michael Prescott, Group Director of Comms at BT Group in London is the former political editor at the Sunday Times who moved into PR via a stint at Weber Shandwick.
Ben Stewart, Head of Media at Greenpeace in London is one of the NGO’s leadership team that is well placed to teach the corporate sector a thing or two about how to run effective communications and lobbying campaigns.
Michael Stewart, Partner, Global Director of Comms at McKinsey & Company in London has an enviable track record in CSR-related institutions such as the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, the UN Global Compact and the Centre for Our Common Future.
Phil Thompson, SVP Global Comms at GlaxoSmithKline in London is a 15-year veteran of GSK having worked his way through a variety of marketing and public relations roles.
Keith Weed, Chief Marketing & Comms Officer at Unilever is a marketing professional who has sought to unify marketing, corporate communications and sustainability under his leadership. An interesting approach that appears to be at odds with what many other large corporations are doing.
The Holmes Report Influence 100 | Top 100 Communicators in the World

7 Skills for a Post-Pandemic Marketer

The impact of Covid-19 has had a significant impact across the board with the marketing and advertising industry in 2020, but there is hope...