Profile: Jonathan Chandler, Kodak - Getting Kodak picture perfect/Jonathan Chandler has taken on a massive role for Kodak’s EMEA division

As someone who has spent the last seven years promoting spare parts for cars and diesel engines for engineering groups Lucas and Perkins, Kodak’s new corporate communications director, Jonathan Chandler, admits to being taken aback by how much he is interested in the product that he has just been hired to promote. ’That’s the funny part. When I listen to my new colleagues talking about the future of photography if I’m not careful I find that I’m actually thinking more as a punter,’ he says.

As someone who has spent the last seven years promoting spare parts

for cars and diesel engines for engineering groups Lucas and Perkins,

Kodak’s new corporate communications director, Jonathan Chandler, admits

to being taken aback by how much he is interested in the product that he

has just been hired to promote. ’That’s the funny part. When I listen to

my new colleagues talking about the future of photography if I’m not

careful I find that I’m actually thinking more as a punter,’ he

says.



Chandler’s real job combines internal and external PR across Europe, the

Middle East and Africa as well as public affairs for Kodak,

responsibilities which were previously shared by two people. It is a

massive brief and he recognises that it will be a challenge. ’I’m not

going there with any preconceived view as to how things will work. I

will go with a very open mind and spend a certain amount of time

listening and trying to understand where the dynamics are,’ he says.



Once he has decided on his approach, Chandler will undoubtedly break his

back to achieve his aims. Those who have worked with him testify to his

enormous zeal and tireless energy. This applies as much to his personal

as his professional life. Chandler is a die-hard football fan who spent

his summer holiday this year dutifully touring French football terraces

cheering for England in every one of its World Cup matches. This all

culminated in ’two nights of depression’ after the England/Argentina

match.



Marion King, European PR manager at Perkins worked under Chandler while

he was communications director there. ’He is an inspiring person to work

for. He can be quite tough when he knows something’s right, he’ll push

strongly for it,’ she says.



Chandler himself admits that he has little time for those who fail to

share his enthusiasm. ’People tell me I go in a bit too hard

sometimes.



When you’re grounded in foot-in-the-door journalism it does take a bit

of sensitivity out of you,’ he says, referring to his years as a

reporter on the Birmingham Evening Mail and the Daily Mirror and Sunday

Mirror.



This pragmatism informs much of Chandler’s world view. It is a

characteristic which derives as much from his native Brummie,

no-nonsense nature as from his experiences working with Korean and

Japanese partners while at Perkins, from whom he learnt to value the

present and not to look back.



His career path is sprinkled with a few jobs which, he tacitly admits,

were less than perfect. Working as a one-man newspaper office in

Worcestershire for the Birmingham Evening Mail and its sister title, the

Post, was ’just survival really - not the most enjoyable way of spending

nearly two years.’



He says that negotiating advertising deals on behalf of Central TV was

’not very challenging’, which is why he spent his evenings and nights at

the time freelancing on the Daily Mirror, where his path crossed that of

then political editor and current Downing Street press secretary

Alastair Campbell.



Rather than dwelling on negative moments in his career, Chandler chose

to make the most of the opportunities the jobs offered him before moving

on swiftly.



Possibly his worst experience, and one which propelled him firmly into

PR, after an intitial stint as editor of British Airways’ in-house title

BA News, was doorstepping the family of murder victim Julie Ward for the

Sunday Mirror just before he joined the PR department of engineering

group Lucas.



’It was Friday night, everyone was out enjoying themselves and what am I

doing? I’m gumshoeing around Bury St Edmunds trying to find a dead

girl’s boyfriend we didn’t even know existed. It was just such low

life.



I came back to my hotel and thought I just don’t need this. Then I

actually decided what a wholesome career PR is,’ he adds laughing.



HIGHLIGHTS

1988

Freelance reporter, Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror

1990

European PR manager, Lucas

1994

Communications director, Perkins

1997

Corporate relations manager, Lucas Varity

1998

Corporate communications director EMEA, Kodak



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