Global Newsmaker: Peter Morgan

Rolls-Royce's new global comms chief tells PRWeek Global why senior journalists should be wary about switching to PR.

Morgan: Rolls-Royce comms chief
Morgan: Rolls-Royce comms chief

Veteran BBC journalist Peter Morgan made the move into PR in 2001, joining Weber Shandwick, before spending five years as BT's group director of comms. He was named Rolls-Royce global corporate affairs director in October 2009.

Why did you move to Rolls-Royce?

I wanted to move to a more global company. I wanted to be on the group executive. And I was extremely impressed by the Rolls-Royce story.

How important is it for a PR person to sit on the group executive?

It's a recognition that reputation is a core function for the company's executive. And it enables the group comms director to genuinely be involved in the strategic issues facing the company. I don't think enough companies possess that recognition.

What is the biggest comms challenge facing Rolls-Royce?

I think the biggest challenge will be to maintain the company's culture while it is growing very fast around the world and taking on a lot of a people.

What do you make of the current wave of senior journalists moving into PR?

I think it's a well-trodden path and I think it's a path that has become more heavily populated as journalism has imploded. It's not always a path to success. To any journalists who ask my advice, i warn them of the risks. Because you are a good journalist does not mean you will be a good corp comms person. The agencies are very well aware of the risks, but when it works, it works brilliantly.

What are the most important ingredients for dealing with the media?

You absolutely must have the confidence of your CEO and board. You must have strong relationships with journalists and I think you've got to like journalists.


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