ICCO History and Milestones

  • 1986: Agency heads and owners, along with national PR association Presidents, meet in Rome to share insights, discuss common challenges, and form the “International Committee of Public Relations Consultancy Associations”, known as “ICO”, to foster international collaboration in public relations.
  • 1989: Officially registered in London as an international membership association.
  • 1991: Rome Charter sets out first internationally agreed standards for PR associations and their members.
  • 1997: Chris McDowell, PRCA Director-General, becomes ICO first Secretary-General.
  • 1999: ICO’S first Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland provides discussion forum for global PR leaders and impact of new technologies on business.
  • 1999: ICO adopts Consultancy Management Standard (CMS), created by PRCA in 1997. ICO establishes international standards oversight group to ensure international promotion and standardisation of certification.
  • 2001: ICO changes name to ICCO, the International Communications Consultancy Organisation, and expands remit with focus on raising global standards and best practice.
  • 2001: ICCO introduces new President -led structure with David Drobis the first ICCO President (see below full list).
  • 2001: The Stockholm Charter provides an update to the Rome Charter, internationally agreed professional and ethical standards for public relations, drawing on codes of ethics across various member countries.
  • 2003: First Hall of Fame Inductees announced at the Global Summit in Berlin.
  • 2004: First ICCO World PR Report offers unique insight into global PR trends covering every global PR market.
  • 2012: PRCA provides first office and staff for the ICCO Secretariat, with PRCA Director-General Francis Ingham serving as its first Chief Executive.
  • 2014: First ICCO Global Awards recognises the best in global campaigns, teams, and individuals, endorsed by all national associations.
  • 2017: Helsinki Declaration provides an update to Stockholm Charter’s international ethical PR principles, endorsed by all member associations.
  • 2019: ICCO becomes a Partner at the Council of Europe, providing PR expertise to policymakers on topics concerning digital media and free speech.
  • 2019: ICCO Agency Finder digitises global industry matchmaking service.
  • 2021: ICCO Next-Generation PR World Cup is established, the first association-led global creative competition for young PR professionals. A parallel university competition was added a year later.
  • 2023 ICCO signs Memorandum of Understanding with United Nations Development Programme and establishes Climate Communications Taskforce to spearhead UNDP climate campaigns.


David Drobis (USA) 2001 – 2003, Carlos Lareau (Spain) 2002 – 2005, John Saunders (USA) 2005 – 2006, Lou Capozzi (USA) 2006 – 2008, Jean Leopold Schuybroek (Belgium) 2008 – 2010, Richard Houghton (UK) 2010 -2012, Jean Leopold Schuybroek (Belgium) 2012-2013, David Gallagher (UK) 2013 – 2015, Maxim Behar (Bulgaria) 2015 – 2017, Elise Mitchell (USA) 2017 – 2019, Nitin Mantri (India) 2019 – 2022, Grzegorz Szczepanski (Poland) 2022 – 2024

Global Summits:

Warsaw 2023, Dubai 2022, London 2021, Virtual 2020, Lisbon 2019, Dublin 2018, Helsinki 2017, Oxford 2016, Milan 2015, New Dehli 2014, Paris 2013, Sintra 2011, New Delhi 2006, Prague 2005, Berlin 2003, San Francisco 2001, Lausanne 1999