Dynamic is probably not how you would primarily describe Andrew
Hawkins, the recently-appointed director-general of the Investor
Relations Society. 'But beware,' warns a close associate. 'Beneath the
mild manner and the long pauses lies a razor-sharp public affairs
Hawkins looks very much the typical director-general. Though only 36,
he's dressed soberly in a grey suit and blue shirt. He appears to be
smart, polite and conservative.
His thoughts are calculated slowly into thoughtful sentences. All of
which is fitting for representing the interests of the investor
Despite a corporate demeanour, a Nike sports watch - of a type de rigeur
for teenage skateboarders - adorns his arm. 'I do a bit of running,' he
says. 'I was supposed to run the London marathon, but was injured a
couple of weeks before. I'll be back next year - definitely.'
Hawkins was described in a speech during his London Chamber of Commerce
(LCC) leaving do earlier this year as a man with 'quiet
'I was told that under my quiet exterior lies a layer of steel,' he
Until three weeks ago, Hawkins was the head of communications for BT
Cellnet. He had left the LCC after five happy years as campaigns
director to take on fresh challenges in the mobile phone sector.
But after just eight weeks in the job, he quit to take up the
newly-created director-general post at the IRS. Hawkins is rumoured to
have quit because he felt Cellnet lacked the will to support his
aggressive PR ambitions - a strategy needed, insiders suggest, to
compete in the competitive third generation mobile market.
Hawkins declines to elaborate on this, but says: 'The IRS post became
available, and I believe it was the right move as it suits my skills and
experience.' His deadpan expression is not broken by a favourable upturn
of the mouth this time. Enough said, one gathers.
At the IRS, Hawkins is briefed to increase membership and raise the
profile of a body that represents industry practitioners. The 20-year-
old association provides education and advice, and represents its 600
members to regulators and government.
Hawkins' background as a qualified barrister should help him fulfil the
brief. A son of a hotelier, brought up in Somerset and now living in
London with his doctor wife and daughter, Hawkins has an MA in
philosophy with international relations from St Andrews University. He
began his career at GPC forerunner Market Access in Brussels and London
before joining Harris Research in 1994. His clients included ITN and the
It was during his time as a lobbyist, with the 1990-1991 recession
looming, that he enrolled in night school for a law conversion course.
At Harris, he was called to the bar. 'I wanted something to fall back
on,' he says.
The security motif is repeated: 'I am a committed Christian and active
in the local Anglican Evangelical church. I like the sense of community
this offers. It has a rural feel in that you know many people in the
In 1996, he joined the LCC, and is credited with raising the body's
Vincent Burke, the LCC press and PR manager, describes Hawkins as 'an
'He transformed the PR unit from a reactive team into a proactive
campaign outfit. He made inspired decisions and cemented relationships
with mayoral candidates. Our close link with Ken Livingstone is part of
Andrew's legacy,' he says.
Hawkins is said to have been instrumental in changing Livingstone's
commercial vehicle levy policy. 'One campaign was the policy of special
motorcycle parking. I was in the pub, discussing, in a jokey way, what
campaign we could use for the Christmas silly season to get journalists
We touched a nerve as it ended up being heavily supported by the City
and the motorcycle lobby groups,' Hawkins recalls.
Sky Business executive producer Simon Bucks sat on the LCC policy
committee with Hawkins. Bucks too praises his PA acumen, 'which
straddles several areas'.
Bucks says: 'Andrew possesses a superb brain. He is canny, and has a
great perception of business and political strategy. He can be
misleading to people, as he doesn't have a bombastic style, and this
leads to him being viewed as un-dynamic. He's anything but that. He is
very good at getting people to believe in his suggestions by persuasive
Hawkins checks his watch and looks as though he is ready to leave.
'I have to go and register my daughter's name this afternoon. She was
born five weeks ago,' he says, proudly.
It must be a busy time, being a new dad with a new job? 'Funny that, but
no. I've found time has slowed,' he says, packing away his diary and
gathering his raincoat.
1994: Head of political research, Harris Research
1995: Campaigns director, London Chamber of Commerce
2001: Head of comms, BT Cellnet
2001: Director-general, IRS