PROFILE: Gary Farrow, Chairman, The Corporation

Fresh from client Elton John's sixtieth birthday party in New York, Gary Farrow sits in his office, in a black leather chair, behind a glass-topped desk, monitoring the day's big stories on his plasma screen TV.

This is mission control for the man whose client roster includes Sharon Osborne and Gordon Ramsay – as well as a handful of ‘incredibly successful’ unnamed businessmen, who ‘employ me to stay out of the media’.

Farrow has a reputation for being forceful, which he readily admits to: ‘Yeah, I shout at everybody,’ he chuckles.

Has he made any journalists cry? ‘I’m sure there are hundreds of them. I’m married to [Sun columnist] Jane Moore and she weren’t happy the other night.’

He may be brash and loquacious, but Farrow is also friendly and very funny. Voicing his frustrations about the meaning of ‘off the record, in perpetuity’, for example, he says: ‘Perpetuity is when you die and even in heaven. And if there is a stage beyond that you still shut the fuck up.’

Farrow is incredibly well-connected, and has many influential admirers. GQ editor Dylan Jones, for example, describes him as ‘a teddy bear’, adding that ‘he always makes things happen.’

Originally from Kent (‘Listen – I come from Orpington. I’ve got two GCSEs, or whatever the bollocks they’re called’), Farrow is an old-school publicist who relies on instinct.

Bring up the subject of measurement and evaluation, for example, and Farrow leaves you in no doubt of his view: ‘Fuck it no. Leave that to those fucking ponytail twats. Evaluation and pie charts and bollocks.’

Clearly not short on confidence (he equates self-doubt with ‘failure’), Farrow is nevertheless happy to praise other PROs, including Max Clifford and LD Communications chief executive Bernard Doherty, though he says that they all do a very different sort of job: ‘It’s like David Hockney would go up to Lucien Freud and say ‘I love your paintings’ but they are completely different, you know?’

Unlike other celebrity PR agencies trying to diversify into consumer PR, Farrow professes no interest in the sector: ‘Have you seen this Kit Kat? It’s 5 bars instead of 4’, he jokes, adopting a squeaky, nerdy accent, before returning to his Orpington tones to ask: ‘Who gives a shit?’

The Corporation has nine staff, who Farrow describes as ‘young, cutting edge people that help me do what I need to do.’ But when asked who his number two is, he says: ‘You’re looking at him. And number three, and number four.’

He can be successful, he says, without the stress of expanding the business. Similarly, he does not seem determined to sell. So what motivates him?

‘It’s all location, location, location when you’re buying a house’, he says: ‘Well for me it’s artists, artists, artists. You pick a shit artist, then you’re a fucker, aren’t you?’

‘It’s not about power’, he adds: ‘The minute you talk about power you become bigger than your clients. I’d rather be a 51 year-old ugly twat, but do a great job with my clients.’

Although he claims to hate parties, Farrow is more personally involved in the media and celebrity lifestyle than most rival publicists. His passion for his clients is unquestionable.

His eldest daughter’s godparents are Elton John and George Michael, and Elton John gave Farrow his break,
employing him at Rocket Records.

Farrow says that the singer has ‘done more for me than any other human being – including my dad – my dad passed away years ago and I was incredibly fond of him but Elton is an inspiration, whatever he does he succeeds.’

‘I love being part of the success – gotta spread the word. I’m like the John the Baptist of PR.’

Farrow does say that if a client ‘got caught with his pants down shagging a penguin in Trafalgar Square at four in the morning and it’s on film, the words ‘you’re on your own’ come to mind.’

But having spent some time with the formidable Farrow, you get the impression that if anyone could find a solution to such a situation, it would be him.

CV - Gary Farrow

2005
Chairman, The Corporation

1995
Vice president, communications, Sony Music Entertainment

1980
Managing director, Gary Farrow Enterprises Media Management

1978
Director, Chinnichap

1976
Head of promotions and press, EMI records

1974
Runner, Rocket Records

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