UK Power Book 2020

The definitive guide to the brightest and most influential PR professionals in Britain.

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David Mawdsley

David Mawdsley

Senior vice-president, corporate affairs

GSK

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In no more than two sentences: describe the past year, and make predictions for 2020.

It’s not really an answer but I am struck that we start 2020 with the UK as one of the only advanced countries with no populist party MPs. Our body politic has been challenged like never before over the last three years, but ultimately it has weathered the storm, adjusted and accommodated change.

In a sentence: what is your biggest professional challenge for 2020?

To float above the fuss and churn and focus where I can make the biggest impact.

What has been your favourite campaign of the past year? (Not one you were involved in.)

I thought Carlsberg’s ‘probably NOT the best beer in the world’ campaign was clever.

Who handled PR most adeptly in the past year?

Boris Johnson. The transformation in his position was a strategic and personal triumph. And in the teeth of so much hysteria and hostility.

…And who most poorly?

Three people in the same family: Andrew, Harry and Meghan.

Which newspaper, broadcast news outlet or website is now most vital to keeping you informed?

By 8am I make sure I have read Politico’s London Playbook, The Times’ 10 Business Need to Knows, and Fast FT overnight and morning stories.

In a sentence: what is the single most important aspect of the debate surrounding corporate purpose?

That companies’ ESG strategies are now getting proper attention and scrutiny from investors; the marked acceleration of this trend in 2019 was very important.

What’s the single most important thing the industry should do to encourage more diversity?

It depends what diversity you are looking for. And why. How many people working in PR and comms are over 50? Over 60? But they are the fastest-growing demographic groups in UK society generally and in many companies (including my own).

The industry jargon or buzzword that annoys me most is…

The list is too long.

I can’t start the day without…

A long walk.