Yelland calls for PROs to make board-level impact

Former Sun editor David Yelland this week challenged the PR industry to better capitalise on the central role communications plays at client organisations’ top tables.

Speaking at Tuesday’s IPR annual conference – which carried the slogan ‘Powerful PR: A Force for the Future’ – Yelland, who joined Weber Shandwick as senior vice-chairman UK and Ireland in July, said heads of large organisations recognise that they ‘live and die by their communications skills’.

He argued that too large a percentage of client budgets are spent with other types of counsellors, such as lawyers and management consultants, rather than comms professionals.

Yelland said CEOs show concern for communications issues because they are ultimately judged by them, with organisational or financial skills already intrinsic to the practices of a company.

He said that when he trained as a journalist he was taught that PROs were ‘snake-oil salesmen’ – but that today at least three quarters of an editor’s contact book is made up of PROs.

l London Riverside marketing officer Geraldine Vallis has become the first recipient of the Esther Kaposi Bursary to study the IPR Advanced Certificate in PR.

The bursary was launched in June to commemorate Kaposi, who died from a brain tumour in December 2003 at the age of 44. The former Powergen director of corporate affairs was influential in developing the post-graduate certificate.

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