Des Wilson's corporate social responsibility background at airports
owner BAA should work to his benefit in his latest role as a
non-executive director at CSR consultancy The Smart Company.
Wilson, who served as BAA corporate affairs director for six years under
CEO Sir John Egan, joins the Chime-backed agency this month.
He will work closely with founders Deborah Mattinson, Vikki Cooke and
Amanda Jordan, and recently appointed MD Leighton Andrews.
Angered by a PRWeek report earlier this year tipping him to return to
his former employer, Burson-Marsteller - he was director of PA there
before joining BAA - Wilson this week sought to clarify the earlier
speculation as to his future after leaving Heathrow and Gatwick's parent
'It was nonsense that they were trying to "woo me back",' he says,
disingenuously, of his recent chinwags with B-M London CEO Alan Biggar.
'There were talks about me and one particular project but we decided it
Even if the link between Wilson and B-M appears to be severed, the link
between him and Egan is of a more enduring kind. The pair have
co-authored a book on CSR using their experience lobbying for the fifth
terminal at Heathrow, which Wilson is credited with pushing through
against local opposition and government ambivalence.
'It is based on the BAA programme and is passionate advocacy for
stakeholder values and sustainability,' he says of Private Business,
Public Battleground, published next March.
His experience at BAA, and before that as director of campaigns for the
Lib Dems, should stand him in good stead at Smart, whose CSR clients
include Consignia, which last week announced it had made thousands of
its stakeholders (er, staff) redundant. Ouch.