There are no clear-cut winners in the RJH fiasco. From the most
distinguished industry veteran to the least experienced account handler,
this public shaming of the PR industry should be a matter of regret to
Royal communications secretary Simon Walker seems to have lost the
goodwill of the Press Complaints Commission and parts of the Palace. A
difficult climb-back to credibility looms for this industry grandee.
Kishan Athalathmudali, the RJH renegade whose initial actions triggered
the whole avalanche, must have a questionable future in PR. It now
emerges that Republic Communications - which had promised him a berth
despite his tussles with RJH - has withdrawn its job offer, after a
newspaper item detailed the extent of his role in the agency's
Then, of course, there are RJH's principals, Sophie Wessex and Murray
Harkin. It would be gauche to intrude further on their public
embarrassment - whatever choices they make or have thrust upon them.
For the agency, a question mark will remain over its future until royal
aide Lord Luce compiles rules on minor royals' business interests.
In the long-term, the damage done to the industry by tabloid headlines
extends beyond this cast of characters. The cause of dispelling the
image of PR as tawdry, exploitative and shallow has been set back. The
blaze of negative publicity has done much to enhance endemic
misconceptions already rampant among the public about the communications
The onus is on the industry is to find high-profile thought leaders
capable of moving forward the reputation of public relations.