This year's PRWeek Power Book polled leading journalists and hundreds of senior PR executives to compile a 'top ten' list of the most influential PR players.
Freud, widely seen as a brilliant networker as well as a long-term corporate adviser to Pepsi and Asda, was the overwhelming choice of both journalists and PR gurus. He recently bought back his PR agency from marketing group Publicis. Freud's agency also maintains lucrative work in the public sector such as the Department of Health's Change4Life programme and the 2012 London Olympics.
The top three power brokers have changed slightly from last year, with City slicker Alan Parker of Brunswick filling the second slot and Finsbury's Roland Rudd replacing Max Clifford in third. Both Parker and Rudd span the corporate and political worlds with top-level connections and clients.
Behind this trio, in-house comms chiefs are gaining in power, as professional comms is taken more seriously within large organisations. Downing Street's director of comms Craig Oliver, Tesco's corporate affairs chief Lucy Neville-Rolfe and Google's EMEA comms boss DJ Collins are now wielding the sort of influence held by such consultants as Chime's Lord Bell, Huntsworth's Peter Chadlington and MCA's Max Clifford.
The new entry of George Bridges MBE, a lobbyist at Quiller Consultants, reflects the change of government since the publication of last year's Power Book. Bridges is close to the Prime Minister and was a member of the Conservative Party election team.
Each year PRWeek produces the Power Book, which features the top one per cent of the British PR industry. Those who qualify are asked to fill in a brief questionnaire about their lifestyles, mentors and media habits.
TOP 10 UK PR PROFESSIONALS (with position last year)
1 (1) Matthew Freud CEO Freud Comms
2 (4) Alan Parker Founder Brunswick
3 (2) Roland Rudd Co-founder Finsbury
4 (-) Craig Oliver Director of comms 10 Downing Street
5 (5) Lucy Neville-Rolfe Exec director, corp Tesco
6 (8) Lord Bell Chairman Chime
7 (9) Lord Chadlington CEO Huntsworth Group
8 (10) DJ Collins V-P public policy Google EMEA
9 (3) Max Clifford Founder Max Clifford
10 (-) George Bridges Consultant Quiller