Profile: Stefan Kosciuszko, Gavin Anderson - The PR man you can definitely bank on/Stefan Kosciuszko is no stranger to the international finance scene

When the East Anglia Daily Times headlined a story in April, ’Rural Vandalism’, Stefan Kosciuszko’s career in PR had started.

When the East Anglia Daily Times headlined a story in April, ’Rural

Vandalism’, Stefan Kosciuszko’s career in PR had started.



The new board director at financial PR firm Gavin Anderson had seen his

Grade I-listed weekend retreat in Suffolk encroached upon by a local

pitch-and-putt course. Outraged at the imposition, and aware of the

damage being done to an item of national heritage, Kosciuszko placed

stories in the local press and lobbied the council’s planning committee

to kill the idea. Like most of Kosciuszko’s schemes, it worked and the

plan has now been shelved.



The 40-year-old banker studied international relations before joining

the global division of the National Westminster bank as a graduate

trainee.



After charting a way out of NatWest and into the investment banking

major league, the 1980s were spent working for Schroders on various

projects in London, Athens, Tokyo and Hong Kong.



He has come a long way since then. His last job before joining Gavin

Anderson was as head of Schroders’ equity and capital markets division

in Hong Kong, running a team of 20 financiers from Singapore to

Seoul.



The Asian economic crisis in the summer of 1998 led Schroders to close

many of its Asian operations and was an indicator to Kosciuszko that his

future lay outside the region. Along with his Japanese wife and two

young daughters, he returned to London. Financially secure, he took

extended leave until the spring of this year, when he abandoned

corporate finance for a fresh challenge.



Born to a British mother and Polish father in New York in 1959,

Kosciuszko came to England at the age of seven, but when money was

scarce and the fees at Scottish public school Gordonstoun could not be

paid, Kosciuszko decamped to night school to complete his A-levels. He

managed them in four months.



An Oxford historian acquainted with Kosciuszko commented that a man of

his ancestry - the original Kosciuszko was an 18th century Polish folk

hero, while the modern Kosciuszko’s paternal grandfather led British

forces in the 19th - must have fire in his belly. Stefan Kosciuszko has

it in spades.



He will need it to maintain Gavin Anderson’s fine track record of

success.



The firm brought in fees of pounds 20 million in 1998, launching IPOs

for Air France and Kingston Communications last year, as well as fending

off Total’s takeover bid for Elf and helping Renault acquire a stake in

Nissan.



The choice of Gavin Anderson was deliberate. Kosciuszko says he always

found financial communications interesting. Approached by the agency, he

was interviewed by the head of the company’s London office, Richard

Constant, and three other board directors.



The agency is at a vital stage in its development, Kosciuszko says, and

the time was ripe for him to join. ’Richard has a strong vision of

turning Gavin Anderson into a leading global financial PR firm. The

structures and people in place make them ideally placed to do that.’



The contrast between banking and PR is not so marked, Kosciuszko

maintains.



As a banker, he would advise clients on charting a path through a

specific situation. The same mastery of technical detail is required, he

says, but with communications awareness as well. ’I have some learning

to do,’ he willingly admits, ’but I am still spotting opportunities to

help clients and assisting them in times of crisis.’ Even if Kosciuszko

has not acquired a PR mindset, he feels his international experience

will give a depth of insight into high finance which will be of use to

Gavin Anderson.



Gerry Grimstone, Kosciuszko’s boss for six years in London and Hong

Kong, agrees. He says Kosciuszko’s strengths lie in his intellect and in

developing client relationships. ’In recent years financial PR has

become more sophisticated, requiring more detailed understanding of the

banking business. Stefan certainly has that,’ Grimstone says.



The view of Kosciuszko’s former boss is shared by a former employee.



Viral Gathani, who now works in Hong Kong for Wall Street outfit

Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette (DLJ), considers him a ’mentor’. He speaks

highly of Kosciusko’s people skills, but points out that his personality

may have been more suited to a US bank. ’His strong personality was

sometimes inconsistent with what was expected at blue-blooded

Schroders,’ Gathani says.



The contacts Kosciuszko built up in 20 years on banking’s front line

will certainly be useful in his new job. Gathani has already offered to

introduce him to staff at DLJ’s London office. Kosciuszko’s

business-winning reputation is set to be reinforced.



HIGHLIGHTS

1985

Joined global markets division of Chemical Bank International

1995

Head of equity capital markets for Schroders in Hong Kong

1999

Board director, Gavin Anderson



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