Global Newsmaker: Stephen Doherty

Diageo's comms director Stephen Doherty tells PRWeek Global why the latest results were his hardest sell yet and which tipple he enjoys to help him wind down.

Diageo comms chief Stephen Doherty
Diageo comms chief Stephen Doherty

Diageo has been busy. The company has just released a tough set of interim results, is reviewing its Asia-Pacific PR support and has completed an office move to Park Royal. Doherty tells PRWeek Global about these developments and the perils of long underground journeys.

You are fresh from the release of Diageo's interim results. How did it go?

It's the most difficult story I've ever had to flog. In terms of profit, sales and volumes, the numbers were the worst Diageo has ever reported. Those are the three figures most journalists tend to talk about. We had a threefold strategy. We wanted to make sure we got credit for the results in the context of the worst economic climate since the second world war. We wanted to direct journalists towards numbers they normally wouldn't look at, and we wanted to show clear confidence in our business. We've had a really balanced show across the board. It's quite gratifying when the strategy works, but inside you're always a bit surprised that it's worked.

How gruelling was the day?

I started at 6am, took the last calls at 6pm and then took the team out for drinks and dinner at Little Italy. It's a stalwart for Diageo staffers, because it's (Diageo's corporate relations director) Ian Wright's favourite restaurant. I was staring at Emily Atack canoodling with her Dancing On Ice partner. I should have papped her.

Diageo has just relocated from central London to Park Royal, in the north west of the city. How are you finding the new commute?

We're still in the honeymoon period. There's a degree of novelty about it. The building is gorgeous, it's just in Park Royal. That's the challenge. But people are getting into their groove. We beamed the recent press conference at our office in St James's Square into our office at Park Royal. More than 500 members of staff crowded into the Atrium to watch it. It's amazing what a free lunch can do. I spend two days a week in our office in central London and three days in Park Royal. It takes me an hour and a half to get to work.

What is your top tipple?

My favourite tipple? Ah, the agony of choice. I should say Guinness, and I do like it. But I'm also a lager man. Oh, and a Tanqueray and tonic. It's the future. I've seen it.

What is your media diet?

I read The Guardian every day. It's a hangover from working with the Labour Party, a habit I can't kick. Its iPhone application is really good. BBC.co.uk/news is my default browser. I love Sky News, we have that on for rolling news in the office. It has a marginally better energy for rolling news. I'm a news junkie. I also read The Sun every day, and BBC Radio 5 Live is my radio station of choice.

 

 

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