International distribution group Inchcape has brought PR back into
the boardroom after a two-year absence.
Group corporate affairs director Paul Barber was appointed to the
company’s group management board last week. His promotion marks the
first time the position has had a seat on the board since Barber’s
predecessor John Duncan took early retirement in May 1995.
Inchcape group chief executive Philip Cushing said: ’Paul’s appointment,
after almost three years with Inchcape, reflects not only the value
Inchcape places on its corporate communications activities, but also the
wider contribution I expect the corporate affairs function to make in
the day-to-day running of an international company’.
Barber said the move would ensure that the corporate communications
implications were considered in ’every business decision we make’.
A student of the PR masters course at Stirling University, 30-year-old
Barber is something of a high-flyer. He spent three years at Abbey
National as public and media relations manager before moving to retail
chain Bhs as senior PR manager in 1993. Within seven months he had been
promoted to head of corporate communications for the Bhs and Blazer
He joined Inchcape as group corporate affairs manager in September 1994
in the midst of a decline which saw the company’s pre-tax profits fall
from pounds 230.6 million in 1994 to pounds 146.8 million in 1995.
Recent figures, however, show the strength of the company’s turnaround
after extensive restructuring. Pre-tax profits for 1996 were up by 12
per cent to pounds 165 million on turnover of just over pounds 6