PROFILE: David Davis, na europe - Entrepreneurial spirit at heart of na europe - Chairman David Davis reveals ambitious plans for PR's latest news service

David Davis, the newly appointed chairman of start-up PR news

service na europe, is equally at home in the newsroom as he is in the

boardroom. He arguably now has veteran status in both territories.

But with all the enthusiasm of a fresh-faced new recruit, he is

optimistic about his role at the Press Association-linked firm, where

once again he can combine his two fields of expertise.

'As a former journalist, I will always love and need the excitement of a

busy newsroom, which is what we aim to create at na europe,' he


As Davis builds his team from its present three to what he hopes will be

Europe's premier news release distribution service, he finds himself

reminiscing about what many see as the golden days of journalism, and

the early days of PR.

Back in 1956, as a journalist fresh out of the Croydon Times, he landed

a job in Fleet Street as a sub-editor with the Press Association. 'And

here I am, at the other end of my career, back at PA,' he jokes, making

a sweep with his hand to acknowledge the open-plan room space he rents

at PA's new offices in Victoria, London.

The PR world beckoned him and in 1968 he joined Daniel J Edelman for the

launch of the agency's London operation. He became head of Edelman

Europe and was then promoted to the role of Edelman Worldwide deputy


'David helped Edelman build its UK operations in the 1980s, and he

helped us diversify into publishing and financial PR. He is a

hard-working, totally honest man with a fantastic commitment to

quality,' says Richard Edelman, Edelman Public Relations Worldwide


Davis was with Edelman for 24 years, leaving in 1992 to become

international president of Medialink Worldwide, and pioneered the early

introduction of video news releases for global PR communities outside of

the US.

Eight years later, Davis was made chairman of Rainier Corporation, and

established the wide-ranging RainierNet. 'David joined Rainier as

chairman 18 months ago, enabling it to scale and develop the agency from

an early stage start-up to a progressive hi-tech marketing services

business,' says Rainer Europe MD Stephen Waddington.

na europe is a subsidiary of Germany's News Aktuell, and has signed a

distribution agreement with PA. It is from there that Davis aims to make

an assault on the European media for his clients. It has the same

distribution agreement with DPA in Germany so as to give it reach into

former Eastern bloc countries.

He also sees new technologies as the key ingredient to na europe's

potential success. 'The means now exist to target all forms of media

quickly and efficiently,' he enthuses.

Davis is ambitious and multifaceted. He enjoys chewing the fat with

fellow journalists about the old days and exchanging anecdotes of

editions past. But he is keen to stress that he is also a formidable

business builder.

'I'm an entrepreneur. I like being creative in business. I like building

things up from scratch and making them a success. I think having this

ability is in the genes. I always wanted to be a reporter, but I have

found myself good at business too,' he says.

Davis admits the market for PR news services is particularly

competitive. Is he therefore out to rival the likes of UBM's PR

Newswire, which recently bought UNS successor firm Two-Ten

Communications? 'We are just a minnow and cannot pretend to rival them.

But we aim to offer a more specialist services, tailor-made to meet our

clients' needs as they realise the growing importance of Europe,' says

Davis, a self-confessed Tory, royalist and backer of the pound.

It was at the UNS in 1960 that he met his mentor, the Austrian UNS

founder, Alfred Geringer. Geringer wanted to rival Reuters and while

everyone said he was insane, he merely declared he would be the one to

challenge the mighty agency. So he asked Davis, among others, to join

his fledgling team as chief sub-editor.

'I learned much from him,' Davis says. But after four years, he found

himself missing the cut and thrust of journalism, so he left to join The

Times as a reporter. It was from here that he made the key Edelman


Davis believes the best PROs come from a journalistic background. 'I

think its crucial to know how both sides operate,' he says.

After a life of consultancy and a background in journalism, he has two

true loves: business and the media. 'I can remember my first story, a

few pars on the front of the Croydon Times. There is none other like it

- that buzz of a good story,' he says

In his spare time, Davis is a fan of Millwall FC and considers the

team's New Den a second home. One of his favourite phrases is the cliche

trotted out by footballers and pundits: 'At the end of the day'.

At the end of the day, service sector competition just got tougher.


1960: Chief sub-editor, Universal News Service

1964: City reporter, The Times

1968: London founder, Edelman PR Worldwide

1992: Vice-president, Medialink

2001: Chairman, na europe

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