PRWeek UK Corporate, City & Public Affairs Awards winners: Public Affairs Professional of the Year

The winner in this category is John Rowland, managing director, H/Advisors Cicero.

John Rowland joined the agency as an associate in 2006. He is now managing director and leads the public affairs team. The respected agency figure has built a formidable reputation, reflected in the value that clients place on his insightful and strategic counsel and proactive, enthusiastic style.

In 2022 his team achieved record levels of revenue and profitability, and won clients such as Royal Mail, BNY Mellon, 21Shares, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and Novartis.

Rowland has a track record of delivery – whether for his team, his agency or his clients. He is adept at bringing complex regulatory issues to political attention and securing reforms to the regulation of financial and professional services.

Rowland is described by his boss, executive chairman Iain Anderson, as “an inspirational leader” with “one of the most powerful visions for the future of public affairs I have seen”. 

The praise does not stop there, with members of Rowland’s team paying tribute to his “clear and considered” leadership and “supportive, calm and insightful management style”.

His reputation extends to the agency’s clients. Yasmin Diamond CB, executive vice-president of global corporate affairs at InterContinental Hotels Group, regards Rowland as a “highly valued partner”. And Annette Spencer, director of public affairs and research, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, said: “John has proved to be an exceptional consultant. He is always responsive and flexible, working to tight deadlines while always making time to consider issues and options thoroughly.”

But his contributions are not confined to clients and the agency’s bottom line. Rowland has also helped develop the recruitment and management of neurodivergent individuals, and  promote diversity.

Judge’s comment

“It is heartening to see someone develop from a graduate to leading the public affairs practice of Cicero's business and it is clear just how much John's clients value his input and advice.”

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