EDITORIAL: Reputation high on bmi's agenda

Tony Davis's elevation from the government and industry relations department at bmi british midland to the MD's chair at bmi baby, is a welcome indicator of both the increasing stature of corporate communicators and the central role of reputation management and communications.

It is hardly surprising that the rare promotion of a corporate communicator to a top management role should take place within the budget airline sector.

The whole airline sector has a strong lineage of charismatic business leaders - from Virgin Atlantic's Richard Branson to Ryanair's Michael O'Leary and easyJet's Stelios Haji-Ioannou - who demonstrate considerable understanding of the media agenda and who have profited from adroitly playing the consumer champion card.

Davis's considerable background in government relations can also only be of benefit in a sector littered with legislative hurdles.

The promotion of a seasoned corporate comms director to a top management role is still a rare event - one of the few other high-profile examples being Sir Campbell Fraser's rise to chairmanship of Dunlop Holdings.

However, now that the Government is urging companies to recognise the risk associated with reputation, those most adept at managing that intangible asset might increasingly find themselves managing the company.

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