Global Power Book: Sean Spicer is influential, but with a caveat

Eighteen executives in the PRWeek Global Power Book named press secretary Sean Spicer when asked who the most influential PR professional in the world is, and agreed he was bad for the industry.

Sean Spicer
Sean Spicer

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer didn’t have much to say in his 2017 Global Power Book questionnaire, but other PR executives had a lot to say about him.

Spicer said only that the last 12 months have been "busy busy busy busy." Not a surprising answer given that he has spent the past year working with Donald Trump’s campaign and administration, both of which have been plagued with crises.

Global PR executives have taken notice of his work, and 18 named Spicer the "most influential PR professional in the world." Another 37 said Trump himself was the most influential, while six named other members of Trump’s team, including Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks, and Steve Bannon.

Many executives lamented Spicer’s prominence, saying fame doesn’t equal competence. MSLGroup Germany CEO Wigan Salazar said, "His performance as White House spokesperson will haunt us PR professionals for years to come."

Several executives noted Spicer was only the most influential because of his role, such as Lucy O'Brien, GM and partner at Fleishman-Hilliard, who added, "He has a lot of areas for professional development."

Anders Bylund, head of group comms at Interogo Holding AG, said Spicer is influential, but "undermining the trust of the profession." Other executives agreed: Rick French, CEO of French/West/Vaughan, said Spicer "isn't doing much to enhance the reputation of our profession."

Michele Anderson, PR domain lead at Ogilvy, summed it up best: "Love him or hate him, no matter what your political affiliation, the world watches and waits on his every word. From the White House, he commands unprecedented influence as the voice of the administration, one that will have a vast impact on the rest of the world."

And instead of Spicer himself, Golin co-CEO Matt Neale opted for Melissa McCarthy’s rendition of the White House press secretary as the most influential PR professional. 

See the full 2017 Global Power Book here.

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