EDITORIAL: PR crucial weapon in ousting of Green

The battle to oust Carlton Communications founder Michael Green from the chair of the new ITV plc was as much about PR as corporate finance.

The erstwhile City darling has seen his reputation shredded, despite last-ditch attempts by his board - they drafted in Brunswick last week - to salvage it.

And yet, Green and Carlton are not the only ones to have placed a premium on the oxygen of publicity. The statement last weekend from Fidelity Investments head Anthony Bolton - who leads a dissenting shareholder group representing a third of both Carlton and merger partner Granada Media - was hugely informative.

Bolton's pledge, in a letter to the senior non-executives on the putative ITV board, said: 'Failing receipt of satisfactory undertakings from both companies (that Green will leave before the merger's completion), we will take immediate steps to publicise our initiative.'

There is, of course, the small point that, by enabling every Sunday newspaper to report the contents of this letter, Bolton had already taken steps to 'publicise' the 'initiative'. But the more important truth is that Fidelity's version of shareholder activism was neither legal nor financial in nature, but PR-based.

Fidelity is, of course, within its rights to make its voice heard among companies it part-owns. But it failed to state clearly its own long-term plans, even though installing its preferred candidate, an investment banker, as chairman can have only one outcome: a sale. Fidelity has thus fallen short of the openness and transparency of motive that its foray into shareholder activism would appear to endorse.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has been sent home for the day after being told by the judge earlier this afternoon that he will now accept majority verdicts.

Labour "fooling themselves" over plans to combat attacks on Miliband

Labour "fooling themselves" over plans to combat attacks on Miliband

Conservative-leaning public affairs experts have questioned the value of Labour's adoption of US-style campaigning tactics in the wake of the opposition hiring election strategist David Axelrod.

PLMR appoints Professor Tim Morris as non-executive director

The vet who helped establish the British Horseracing Authority's anti-doping and animal welfare programme has joined PLMR as a non-executive director.