London,
10
October
2022
|
08:51
Europe/London

CIPR research finds UK’s largest companies face reputational risk as almost half of management teams lack comms expert

Summary

Analysis of the boards and management teams of the FTSE 100 by the CIPR finds corporate reputation management lacks same attention as HR.

Analysis of the boards and management teams of the FTSE 100 by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) found almost half have no director of comms, director of corporate affairs or similar dedicated (or hybrid) position at this senior level.

The findings have been published (data below) as the UK economy slumps towards a recession, a period often associated with heightened reputational risks as consumers pay closer attention to the activity of companies with which they spend.

 Despite the risk, the research found a lack of dedicated communications expertise on boards, with:

  • Just three FTSE 100 companies having a dedicated communications director;
  • only twenty-nine having a non-executive with clear communications experience;
  • and just over half – 52 – having a dedicated communications or corporate affairs expert in their executive leadership or management teams

By contrast, 80 of the FTSE 100 companies have a dedicated HR figure on their executive leadership team or management committee. The data suggests that the need for devoted senior communications expertise is still not seen as a board level issue by companies.

The analysis also finds inconsistent representation by sector: just one construction company has a dedicated communications figure in its management team, despite the significant health and safety risks faced by the sector. Meanwhile, under half of all consumer brands have such a figure.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

In an age of rolling, twenty-four-hour news, not to mention social media, companies without a senior, dedicated communications figure risk playing reputational roulette and leaving themselves exposed at a time of unparalleled challenge.

All too often firms only receive media interest in relation to a negative issue or for being out of step with public sentiment. In the space of an incredibly short period, a company can become front page news for the wrong reasons – a position many could find themselves in if they don’t have the right communications expertise at the very top.

The companies in our survey are some of the most scrutinised on earth given their size and, undoubtedly, reputation will be on their boardroom agenda. Having the right person to lead on transparent and timely communications advice can pay dividends all year round and not just in moments of crisis.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
 

CIPR FTSE 100 Audit – Sector Data

Aviation (1)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 0 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 1 company has a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 1 company has a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 1 company has a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Chemicals (1)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 0 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 1 company has a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 0 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Construction (6)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 2 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 1 company has a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 4 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 3 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Consumer (31)

  • 2 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 13 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 13 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 25 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 15 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Finance (20)

  • 1 company has a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 7 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 15 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 16 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 9 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Finance/Real Estate (4)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 0 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 1 company has a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 1 company has a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 1 company has a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Industrial and mining (22)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 6 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 10 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 18 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 14 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Pharmaceutical and healthcare (5)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 1 company has NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 3 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 5 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 4 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Telecoms (3)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 1 company has NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 3 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 3 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 2 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Utilities and energy (7)

  • 0 companies have a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms, Director of Corporate Affairs (or similar) on the board
  • 0 companies have NEDs or Senior Independent Directors with PR/comms background (either as a previous appointment or specified as a key skill)
  • 5 company has a stand-alone Director of Corp Comms (or similar) on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 1 company has a stand-alone dedicated head of HR or people on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee
  • 6 companies have a stand-alone dedicated head of ESG, head of sustainability or sustainability officer on their Executive Leadership team or Management Committee

Methodology

A website audit of the Board of Directors and Executive Leadership/Management teams of the UK’s 100 largest companies was conducted to establish how many have dedicated communications professionals on the board. Individuals were assessed on the basis of job title and stated responsibilities as published on both the company websites and respective LinkedIn profiles. NEDs were assessed on the basis of clear communications or corporate affairs experience.

The research was conducted between the 1st and 7th of September 2022, with the FTSE constituents list and individuals being correct as of that date.

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About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).