Unlike Mr Clifford, business leaders are decidedly uncomfortable
about stepping into the limelight. FCB’s survey of top executives in
FTSE 100 companies shows that they recognise that their company’s
reputation is important to its success and that they personally are
expected to stand up and be counted. But they are not happy about
Wary of the savaging meted out to the likes of Cedric Brown at British
Gas, they are reluctant to stick their necks out. ’Media scrutiny has
moved beyond accountability to the point where I feel we’ve slipped on
to the theatre critics page,’ said one respondent.
But this is no excuse to avoid the issue. Media scrutiny will not go
away just because you try to pretend it’s not there, as Brown discovered
to his cost. Ultimately they have to accept that, as a former Barclays
chairman once said, that public relations is 40 per cent of their job.