Opinion: Leader - Tale of two Davids a missed opportunity

The PR industry's tale of two Davids this week raised eyebrows beyond the confines of the sector itself.

Former Sun editor David Yelland's re-emergence as a senior vice-chairman at Weber Shandwick will have rivals of agency CEO Colin Byrne envious at the audacity of such a coup.

England football captain David Beckham's decision to downgrade the role of his current PR advisers in favour of Ketchum account director Simon Oliveira is equally surprising.

The tone of Yelland's columns in The Times since quitting his editorship last year has consistently stressed the primacy of action over description in determining reputations. Indeed, they echo the theme of authenticity captured by Beckham's claim that he is to reposition himself as just a footballer, rather than a media tart.

Perhaps the only real surprise is that, with Yelland looking for a berth in the PR business and Beckham on the hunt for fresh media advice, headhunters didn't bring this pair together in a real working relationship.

Other former holders of Yelland's office might have considered themselves suitable to counsel Beckham, notably Stuart Higgins, who since departing Wapping has carved himself a niche as a football PR expert with clients including Chelsea FC. But as he put a lifeless Becks, swinging from the gallows, on the front of his paper following the player's sending off at the 1998 World Cup in France, perhaps that was always unlikely.

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