PROFILE: Andrew Hawkins, Investor Relations Society - Hawkins steels in to boost IRS members. Andrew Hawkins should fit in just fine as the IRS's first director-general

Dynamic is probably not how you would primarily describe Andrew

Hawkins, the recently-appointed director-general of the Investor

Relations Society. 'But beware,' warns a close associate. 'Beneath the

mild manner and the long pauses lies a razor-sharp public affairs

mind.'



Hawkins looks very much the typical director-general. Though only 36,

he's dressed soberly in a grey suit and blue shirt. He appears to be

smart, polite and conservative.



His thoughts are calculated slowly into thoughtful sentences. All of

which is fitting for representing the interests of the investor

relations community.



Despite a corporate demeanour, a Nike sports watch - of a type de rigeur

for teenage skateboarders - adorns his arm. 'I do a bit of running,' he

says. 'I was supposed to run the London marathon, but was injured a

couple of weeks before. I'll be back next year - definitely.'



Hawkins was described in a speech during his London Chamber of Commerce

(LCC) leaving do earlier this year as a man with 'quiet

determination'.



'I was told that under my quiet exterior lies a layer of steel,' he

adds.



Until three weeks ago, Hawkins was the head of communications for BT

Cellnet. He had left the LCC after five happy years as campaigns

director to take on fresh challenges in the mobile phone sector.



But after just eight weeks in the job, he quit to take up the

newly-created director-general post at the IRS. Hawkins is rumoured to

have quit because he felt Cellnet lacked the will to support his

aggressive PR ambitions - a strategy needed, insiders suggest, to

compete in the competitive third generation mobile market.



Hawkins declines to elaborate on this, but says: 'The IRS post became

available, and I believe it was the right move as it suits my skills and

experience.' His deadpan expression is not broken by a favourable upturn

of the mouth this time. Enough said, one gathers.



At the IRS, Hawkins is briefed to increase membership and raise the

profile of a body that represents industry practitioners. The 20-year-

old association provides education and advice, and represents its 600

members to regulators and government.



Hawkins' background as a qualified barrister should help him fulfil the

brief. A son of a hotelier, brought up in Somerset and now living in

London with his doctor wife and daughter, Hawkins has an MA in

philosophy with international relations from St Andrews University. He

began his career at GPC forerunner Market Access in Brussels and London

before joining Harris Research in 1994. His clients included ITN and the

Conservative Party.



It was during his time as a lobbyist, with the 1990-1991 recession

looming, that he enrolled in night school for a law conversion course.

At Harris, he was called to the bar. 'I wanted something to fall back

on,' he says.



The security motif is repeated: 'I am a committed Christian and active

in the local Anglican Evangelical church. I like the sense of community

this offers. It has a rural feel in that you know many people in the

area.'



In 1996, he joined the LCC, and is credited with raising the body's

profile.



Vincent Burke, the LCC press and PR manager, describes Hawkins as 'an

intellectual powerhouse'.



'He transformed the PR unit from a reactive team into a proactive

campaign outfit. He made inspired decisions and cemented relationships

with mayoral candidates. Our close link with Ken Livingstone is part of

Andrew's legacy,' he says.



Hawkins is said to have been instrumental in changing Livingstone's

commercial vehicle levy policy. 'One campaign was the policy of special

motorcycle parking. I was in the pub, discussing, in a jokey way, what

campaign we could use for the Christmas silly season to get journalists

interested.



We touched a nerve as it ended up being heavily supported by the City

and the motorcycle lobby groups,' Hawkins recalls.



Sky Business executive producer Simon Bucks sat on the LCC policy

committee with Hawkins. Bucks too praises his PA acumen, 'which

straddles several areas'.



Bucks says: 'Andrew possesses a superb brain. He is canny, and has a

great perception of business and political strategy. He can be

misleading to people, as he doesn't have a bombastic style, and this

leads to him being viewed as un-dynamic. He's anything but that. He is

very good at getting people to believe in his suggestions by persuasive

argument.'



Hawkins checks his watch and looks as though he is ready to leave.



'I have to go and register my daughter's name this afternoon. She was

born five weeks ago,' he says, proudly.



It must be a busy time, being a new dad with a new job? 'Funny that, but

no. I've found time has slowed,' he says, packing away his diary and

gathering his raincoat.



HIGHLIGHTS

1994: Head of political research, Harris Research

1995: Campaigns director, London Chamber of Commerce

2001: Head of comms, BT Cellnet

2001: Director-general, IRS



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