“Comms people should believe in the worth of our own profession” – new CIPR guide on going from comms pro to CEO


“Comms people should believe in the worth of our own profession. The accountants and lawyers aren’t sitting there thinking ‘do you think it’s alright if I am a CEO?’ It never crosses their mind.”

- Ruth Davison, CEO of Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association 

Public relations professionals possess the necessary and required skills and experience to make the move from comms professional to CEO, according to a new CIPR guide. 

From Comms Professional to CEO’ - researched and written by Mike Browne MCIPR of How-Now Communications and 2020 CIPR Board member - explores what holds comms people back on their professional journey to leadership positions. The report provides advice for professionals on making the journey to the top based on qualitative research interviews with CEO’s who have a communications background.

The report will be discussed at a free event on Friday 29 January (details below).

Interviewed for the report are: 

  • Stephen Burke – Director, United for All Ages 
  • Ruth Davison - CEO of Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association 
  • Michelle Doyle Wildman – CEO, Political Studies Association 
  • Gavin Ellwood – Founder, Ellwood Atfield 
  • Tom Grinyer – CEO, British Medical Association 
  • Gail Scott-Spicer – CEO, Kings College Hospital Charity 
  • Lorraine Langham – CEO, Future First
CIPR President, Mandy Pearse Chart PR, FCIPR
I would like to thank those who contributed to this invaluable guide. Whatever stage of your career you are at, and whatever your ambitions, this guide should fill you with confidence that you can go as far as you choose by merit of your experience and skills. In particular, I was pleased to see the importance of committing to CPD as a clear and recognised way to demonstrate one's professionalism, adaptability, and commitment to best practice.
CIPR President, Mandy Pearse Chart PR, FCIPR
Mike Browne, Founder of How-Now Communications
I’ve always thought the skill set of senior communications professionals makes us ideal CEO material but haven’t seen lots of people having made the leap. I think this is partly about self-confidence and partly because of a lack of visible role models. I hope this report will help tackle both of these issues and support any communications professional thinking about taking the step up to a CEO role to “just do it”. I would like to thank the chief executives who have made the journey and gave me their time, career stories, and learning. Their insight along with the thoughts of a leading head-hunter give hints, tips, and inspiration for anyone who thinks they have CEO potential.
Mike Browne, Founder of How-Now Communications

Event discussion

Join some of those who have made the journey from comms pro to CEO at this free event as they share their learning about steps to take on the road to the top:

  • Chair: Mike Browne, Founder How-Now Communications
  • Stephen Burke, Director, United for All Ages
  • Michelle Doyle Wildman, CEO, Political Studies Association
  • Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO, Kings College Hospital Charity

Friday 29 January, 12.30 pm. The event will be recorded for those unable to join.


Notes to editors

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 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).