As well as identifying the top echelon of professionals, we also attempt to name those rated particularly highly in their fields. And – on page two of this magazine – we celebrate the top ten individuals currently operating in UK public relations.
All of these lists are the result of a four-month research project to champion great comms people, and great work.
On the same theme, the subject of our profile this week (page 16) is BP’s outgoing head of media, Roddy Kennedy.
Kennedy, who gives his first interview to PRWeek, is a tough but respected operator, who has displayed fierce loyalty and dedication for many years. He is an example of just how valued and pivotal PR advisers have become at the highest level of business and politics.
Finally the message is getting through to UK plc that reputation is everything in the modern media world. Sir Richard Branson was quoted as saying the same thing earlier this week.
Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco’s corporate and legal affairs supremo, who makes it into our top ten for the first time this year, would agree.
Despite the industry still being dominated by stalwarts such as Matthew Freud, Alan Parker and Tim Bell, there is without doubt a new generation of professionals coming through to challenge their crowns.
Many of these – such as the Conservatives’ Andy Coulson, Virgin’s Paul Charles or Google’s Peter Barron and DJ Collins – have a strong background in journalism and politics.
Encouragingly, an increasing number of table-toppers – including Microsoft’s Alison Perkins, Apple’, Tanya Ridd and the British Heart Foundation’s Betty McBride – are women.
At last count, the UK PR industry contributed at least £6.5bn to national GDP – vital in the post-banking economy – but it contributes much more in terms of innovation and excellence, of which we should all be proud.