Profile: Simon Brocklebank-Fowler, Cubitt Consulting - A diplomatic IR approach - Simon Brocklebank-Fowler puts MBOs behind him to set up his own firm

Looking back, Simon Brocklebank-Fowler describes the opportunity to join Citigate in 1994 as a ’magic window’. He is less forthcoming about the circumstances under which he was made redundant as managing director of the agency four years later, just weeks before its parent Incepta acquired rival agency Dewe Rogerson.

Looking back, Simon Brocklebank-Fowler describes the opportunity to

join Citigate in 1994 as a ’magic window’. He is less forthcoming about

the circumstances under which he was made redundant as managing director

of the agency four years later, just weeks before its parent Incepta

acquired rival agency Dewe Rogerson.



Citigate sources are nothesitant to go into detail about his departure,

albeit anonymously. ’Management wasn’t a strength. He didn’t display the

leadership we expected,’ says one about his tenure as managing

director.



Brocklebank-Fowler, too, was less than enamoured with things as they

were at Citigate. A year ago he offered to put together a management

buy-out for part of the business. ’It would not be unreasonable to say

I’d expressed an interest in the dynamics of the core business,’ he says

in the guarded way that marks him out as a one-time diplomat.



Today, though, he is more interested in the dynamics of another

business: his own. Financial PR agency Cubitt Consulting begins trading

officially on 1 January, 1999 but Brocklebank-Fowler is already hard at

work at his new office near Butler’s Wharf on the south bank of the

Thames which he shares with an ad agency run by a friend. It will be

some time, if at all, before Brocklebank-Fowler enjoys the pounds

200,000-plus package he was on at Citigate. But he appears unperturbed

by the risks of entrepreneurship.



’The IR industry has, I think, recognised the strength of the consumer

communications skills related to brand,’ he says. These sorts of PR

skills, he adds, can be used to ’build corporate brand in a capital

markets environment and leverage equity value.’



Brocklebank-Fowler undoubtedly knows his onions when it comes to capital

markets. After a stint in the Foreign Office, which included a posting

to Madrid, he moved into corporate finance at Kleinwort Benson and at NM

Rothschild.



A former Kleinwort colleague Nigel Atkinson, now chairman of corporate

finance house Nabarro Wells, says: ’He has the right sort of manner and

imprimatur to do PR but he has the technical knowledge that comes from

banking as well.’



Brocklebank-Fowler’s move from investment banking into PRwas the direct

result of a crisis. While at Rothschild, he was a member of

Conservative-controlled Westminster City Council - he also stood for

election as a Tory candidate for Stockton North in 1992, but was

defeated.



His time as a councillor coincided with the publication of a now

notoriously damning auditors’ report alleging council houses had been

sold with a view to increasing the Conservative populations of key

wards. As Brocklebank-Fowler was the only one of the Council leadership

not to be named in the report, it fell to him to handle the vast

majority of media relations.



Having been in the ’frontline oneself,’ he says, gives him a useful

’degree of emotional sympathy’ for those targeted by the media. But it

is also fair to say that communications is in his blood. His mother

worked for Burson-Marsteller and his father was a director of

communication group Lopex.



In addition, his wife Alexandra Robson is deputy managing director of

upmarket consumer agency Aurelia PR. ’One gets to see the costume ball

end of the industry,’ he says of those occasions when as a dutiful

spouse he accompanies her to events. Although he lives in Pimlico

Brocklebank-Fowler is a devotee of country pursuits like shooting.



He becomes animated when talking about this passion as he does when

recalling the year after he took control of the corporate division of

Citigate. ’We built a business by hiring brilliant young people’ he

says.



Starting from scratch with Cubitt, he will be hoping for similar success

rather than another uncomfortable year like 1998.



HIGHLIGHTS

1986 - Manager, corporate finance, Kleinwort Benson

1991 - Manager, corporate finance, NM Rothschild

1992 - Head of IR practice, Shandwick

1994 - Board director, Citigate Communications

1998 - Managing director, Cubitt Consulting



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