Shandwick plc chairman Peter Gummer has been awarded a life peerage,
along with fellow Tory communications adviser Maurice Saatchi.
The announcement immediately sparked a political row. Labour furiously
condemned the Conservatives for rewarding the architects of its current
burst of negative campaigning, including the controversial advertisement
which ‘demonised’ Tony Blair.
Both Gummer and Saatchi are currently away on holiday, but Conservative
spokesmen rejected the accusations and highlighted the contribution the
pair have made towards building business in the UK.
Meanwhile the PR industry welcomed news of the peerages. ‘It is
fantastic for the PR business,’ said former PRCA chairman Quentin Bell.
‘It is a recognition of the fact that the UK is a world leader in PR and
As chairman of Shandwick, Gummer heads the world’s largest independent
PR firm. Last year, the company, which he started from an attic office
in 1974, registered an operating income of pounds 108.8 million, 2,000
clients, 1,900 employees and 134 offices in 45 countries.
He is one of the best known figures in the PR industry and much admired
for establishing the precedent of a non-advertising-backed, UK-based PR
multinational, and for taking the lead on key industry issues such as
evaluation and training.