ICCO announces new Regional Presidents

ICCO is pleased to announce that five Regional Presidents have been appointed, who will represent the recently formed Regional Boards covering Europe, Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
The following candidates were elected by the ICCO Global Board of Management:
Europe: Juergen H. Gangoly, Managing Partner, The Skills Group; Vice President, Public Relations Verband Austria (PRVA)
Americas: Aaron Kwittken, Global Chairman & CEO, Kwittken; Board Director, PR Council
Middle East: Loretta Ahmed, CEO, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Grayling; Chairman, PRCA MENA
Africa: Bridget Von Holdt, Executive Director, Glasshouse Communication Management; representative of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA)
Asia Pacific: Nitin Mantri, CEO, Avian Media; President, Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI)
The Regional Presidents will join the Global Executive Committee, comprised of the Global President, Vice President, Treasurer, immediate Past President, the Regional Presidents, and the Chief Executive.
The new structure, announced at the Global ICCO PR Summit in Oxford in September, aims to ensure that all regionals, organisations and individuals represented by ICCO can create and develop their own voice for the benefit of the regional and global PR and communications industry.
Commenting on the new structure, ICCO President Maxim Behar said: “All regions from now on will be represented in the ICCO Global Executive Committee. But not only that; elected Regional Presidents are great professional colleagues and widely known PR experts and we do believe that their input into ICCO’s management will be significant. We all look forward to working together to strengthen ICCO’s position as the largest global PR community.”
Juergen H. Gangoly, newly appointed Regional President – Europe said: “With ICCO’s new regional structure in Europe, we have the goal to further grow the organisation and make the voice of Europe’s PR industry even more heard by the public. We will intensify ICCO’s relations to European institutions and to partner organisations in the wider communications industry all over Europe. Supporting cross-border co-operation amongst our members from training and educational activities to business and information services will be part of ICCO’s working programme in Europe for the coming years.”
Aaron Kwittken, ICCO Regional President – Americas said: “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues around the world to better promote cross-border collaboration and conversation around a compelling point of view on our role in an increasingly digital world without agency borders.”
Loretta Ahmed, ICCO Regional President – Middle East said: ““As we continue to evolve our agencies and what we do on behalf of our clients, we must also do so with one eye on the rest of the world. That connection, especially for a region emerging as fast as the Middle East is critical. I’m honoured to be elected President for ICCO in the Middle East. Having lived in the region for four years I continue to see communications consultancies delivering world class campaigns and ICCO provides another platform for recognition on all that the Middle East PR sector is achieving.”
Bridget Von Holdt, ICCO Regional President – Africa said: “Africa tends to be the forgotten continent, yet is identified as a focal growth point for so many international companies. As the Regional President, I will use the ICCO platform to position Africa and the agencies represented on the continent as strategic partners, as innovative and of course as the experts within the region.”
Nitin Mantri, representing Asia Pacific as Regional President, said: “ICCO has been making giant strides in elevating the public relations profession, and now with the regional bodies there will be greater consistency in communications standards across the world. The aim would be to encourage discussions on the issues facing the industry and sharing the best practices across this region to elevate ICCO’s role in Global public relations.”
About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations, agencies and networks in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

ICCO President in Oslo: PR is the most challenging business in the world

“Public relations has been turned on its head, only in the past couple of years and has became the most challenging business in the world”, ICCO President Maxim Behar said at the recent international conference “Oslo PR Talks”. Behar was a keynote speaker at the conference, officially supported by ICCO and PRCA.

“These days to practice public relations is a great challenge and it requires very special qualities from our teams – fast decision making, story telling in a very short and catchy way, but also vision to the future and predictions of what will be the next means of communication. The challenges come mainly from the fact also that the three main elements of public communications – advertising, public relations and digital – are merging very fast and we must prove our place as leaders in the future joint business”, Behar said.

“Oslo PR Talks” is the first conference of its kind organised by the The P World. “We were happy to cooperate with ICCO on this significant project, as we also did earlier this year in Reykjavik, Iceland. Our Oslo participants were very pleased by the motivating keynote speech of Mr. Behar”, said Kosta Petrov, CEO of The PR World.

More than 200 participants joined the event, including speakers Mary Jo Jacoby, US Presidential Adviser; Malena Cutuli, Global Head of Brand of Communications for Shell; Donald Steel, former spokesperson of BBC; John Shields, current Director of Communications of BBC and many others.

About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

International judging panel announced for ICCO Global Awards

ICCO is proud to announce the judges for the ICCO Global Awards 2016; the global showcase for the most effective PR from the world’s most talented practitioners.

The awards are the only internationally recognised awards programme purely based on effectiveness, measurement, results and impact for the global PR industry, and supported by PR trade associations representing 48 countries worldwide.

Entries are judged by an elite international panel of top PR practitioners who will consider excellence and effectiveness of PR work submitted from across the world.

David Gallagher, co-President of the jury said: “Much of the discussion in PR about earned, paid or owned media, or the changing nature of social media, or the importance of creative storytelling, or any of the other myriad topics we discuss, are largely academic. The thing that matters: results. What happened as a result of our activity in terms of behaviour, attitude or ideas? That’s what the ICCO awards emphasize – and that’s what makes them unique.”


ICCO Global Awards International Jury:

Co-President: Renee Wilson, President, PR Council (USA)

Co-President: David Gallagher, President, Growth and Development, International, Omnicom Public Relations Group (Global)

Poli Stuart-Lacey, Head of Communications, UK Government (UK)

Michael Schröder, Global President, IPREX (Global)

Michael Frohlich, CEO, EMEA, Ogilvy Public Relations (EMEA)

Victoria Wagner, CEO, Ketchum Germany (Germany)

Denise Kaufmann, CEO, Ketchum London (UK)

Lucio Bergamaschi, Director General, Below Communications and Media Relations (Italy)

Jean-Leopold Schuybroek, Chairman, Interel Belgium (Belgium)

Andrey Barannikov, CEO, SPN Communications (Russia)

John Ehiguese, Founder & CEO, Mediacraft Associates (Nigeria)

Dimitris Roulias, CEO, Out of the Box PR (Greece)

Sharon Murphy, Deputy CEO, Wilson Hartnell (Ireland)

Jürgen Gangoly, Managing Partner, The Skills Group (Austria)

Emine Cubukcu, Managing Director, Ogilvy Public Relations Istanbul (Turkey)

Kresten Schultz Jorgensen, Managing Partner, LEAD Agency (Denmark)

Bridget von Holdt, Executive Director, Glasshouse Communication Management (South Africa)

Grzegorz Szczepanski, CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Poland (Poland)

Andras Sztaniszlav, Senior Consultant & Communications Strategist, PersonaR (Hungary)

Jelena Sarenac, Director of Corporate Communications, Henkel (Serbia)

Michaela Benedigova, Director and Partner, SEESAME Communication Experts, (Slovakia)

Katya Dimitrova, Managing Partner, Interpartners (Bulgaria)

Stian Lyberg, Consultant & Founder Partner, PR-operatørene (Norway)

Marina Haluzan, Information and PR Adviser, Croatia Control (Croatia)

Tatevik Pirumyan, Founder, Managing Director, Communication Management Group (Armenia)

Sari-Liia Tonttila, Managing Director, Ahjo Communications (Finland)

Gary Muddyman, Managing Director and CEO, Conversis (UK)

Aaron Kwittken, CEO, Kwittken Communications (USA)

Sconaid McGeachin, President & CEO, Africa, Middle East & Turkey, Hill+Knowlton Strategies (MENA)

Tanya Hughes, President, SERMO Communications (Global)

Isabelle Wolf, CEO & Founder, Kingcom (France)

Loretta Ahmed, CEO Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Grayling (MENA)

Barry Leggetter, CEO, AMEC (Global)

George McGregor, Managing Partner, Interel UK (UK)

Aye Verckens, Managing Director, Recognition PR (Australia)

Rakesh Thukral, Managing Director, Edelman India (India)



Final entry deadline: 02 November 2016

Shortlist Announced: 17 November 2016

Awards Night (St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London): 01 December 2016


For more information on entries the awards or attending the awards night, visit

ICCO announces new Innovation in Communications panel

ICCO has announced at its annual Global PR Summit that it will be launching a new Innovation in Communications panel.

The panel will aim to engage and educate the international public relations and communications industry on innovative topics relating to its development. It will also prepare research into new practices and encourage the adoption of ground-breaking ideas and products. Finally, it will benchmark and develop best practice standards in communications and engagement.

The panel will be co-chaired by Russell Goldsmith, Founder, Audere Communications, and Elayne Phillips, Head of Civil Service Communications & Internal Communications, Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office Communications.

The panel will be made up of the following members:

  • Richard Bagnall
  • Hanna Basha
  • Stuart Bruce
  • Dom Burch
  • Simon Collister
  • Russell Goldsmith (Co-Chairman)
  • Michelle Goodall
  • Joanna Halton
  • Gabrielle Laine-Peters
  • Rachel Miller
  • Adam Parker
  • Elayne Phillips (Co-Chairman)
  • Julio Roma
  • Andrew Smith
  • Paul Wilkinson

If you would like to find out more information about the panel, please contact Russell Goldsmith.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “Innovation is key to good communications and is an essential part of a thriving PR industry. The panel will share best practice and innovative practices with the wider global PR and communications community. The industry is already at the forefront of innovation and the panel will serve to encourage a healthy debate on innovation.”

Russell Goldsmith, Founder, Audere Communications said: “It’s a genuine thrill to have another opportunity to work with the same forward thinking individuals who made up a large part of the CIPR’s Social Media Panel.  After our work in that team finished in December 2015, a number of us felt there was more value we could add and having spoken with colleagues and peers in the industry, across business and in the public sector, we felt it appropriate to re-launch the panel with a focus on innovation in products and practice across international communications.  We were therefore delighted that ICCO agreed to support us and give us a platform to achieve our objectives.”

Elayne Phillips, Head of Civil Service Communications & Internal Communications, Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office Communications said: “Professional communicators from in-house teams, agencies and consultants, are facing similar global challenges – some of which can be solved with innovative communications.  As a group, we have always been proud to be progressive in our approach, challenge the status quo and offer new thinking, and we want to continue to push the boundaries.  So, get involved, follow us, contribute to discussions and join us at the heart of innovation in communications.”

About ICCO

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

Oxford summit to focus on the PR consultancy of the future

The Global ICCO PR Summit takes place later this month (29 & 30 September) in Oxford, UK.

The event theme focuses on “creating the consultancy of the future”, with a particular emphasis on talent, inspiration and innovation. International industry leaders presenting at the event include Karen van Bergen, CEO, Omnicom Public Relations Group; Michelle Hutton, COO, Edelman Europe, Scott Kronick, President & CEO, Ogilvy PR Asia Pacific; Alex Aiken, Executive Director, Government Communications – UK Government; Ian Pearman, CEO, AMV BBDO; Pascal Beucler, Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP; and Andres Wittermann, Executive Vice President EMEA & APAC, LEWIS.

The conference will also see the launch of the much anticipated World PR Report 2016 which has been produced by ICCO and PRWeek.

Registration details and the full line-up are available on the ICCO Summit website.

ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham said: “If you work in PR and communications, then you need to be in Oxford on September 29th and 30th. We’ll have some of the industry’s biggest names there, drawn from right around the world, giving their analysis of where we now, and where we will be in the future. The ICCO summit is the pinnacle of the PR and comms conference season – if you’re serious about your profession, you’ll be there.”

Content marketing platform Passle is the event’s headline sponsor, and will be running a panel session discussing what brands, including the personal brands of staff, say about  agencies.

Passle co-founder Tom Elgar said: “We are delighted to sponsor the ICCO global summit. As the voice of public relations consultancies around the world the ICCO summit is the ideal place for Passle to showcase its platform that enables busy experts to demonstrate their knowledge and experience online. By creating timely, authentic commentary on news and trends Passle makes it easy for PR experts provide industry-leading analysis for their clients, prospects, employees and stakeholders.”

Previously the summit has been held in cities including Milan, New Delhi and Paris, and is the major annual event of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO).

The event will take place at Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford and will be co-chaired by David Gallagher of Omnicom, Nitin Mantri of Avian Media (India) and Andrey Barannikov, CEO, SPN Communications (Russia). It is also sponsored by Paprika, Capstone Hill Search, ePressPack, Conversis, Gorkana, Avian Media, Porter Novelli, 72 Point and OnePoll.

For more information on attendance and sponsorship, please contact Charlene Corrin, General Manager, ICCO:

GWPR Global Gender Pay Gap Survey goes live

The very first international Gender Pay Gap and Work Life Balance Survey, from ICCO sector group GWPR (Global Women in Public Relations), has now gone live.

The survey asks a number of questions about working practices and seeks to provide important data on the state of play and views of those working in PR – be it in agency, in-house or as an independent consultant. The survey is designed to provide important feedback on equality and the work/life balance for both men and women working in the industry.

The survey has been facilitated by leading market research agency One Poll and is fully supported by ICCO (the International Communications Consultancy Organisation). Media partner The Holmes Report will be publicising the survey, as well as reporting the findings. The results will be published by ICCO at the Global ICCO PR Summit in Oxford, September 29th/30th.

These are the links for the UK and US questionnaires:





Sue Hardwick MPRCA and Angela Oakes MPRCA, co-founders of GWPR said: “In the UK, women constitute two-thirds of the overall working population in the PR industry, however there is a widely reported gender pay gap. Quite simply, men and women in the UK PR industry are not being equally rewarded. We believe that this issue is not limited to the UK, but is affecting the majority of women working in PR around the world.

ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham MPRCA commented: “There is a global problem with the gender pay gap in PR, and we are very pleased that GWPR is seeking to address this issue. The existence of this gap deters entrants into our industry and encourages leavers from it. With GWPR now a member of the ICCO Board, we can work closely to shine a light on this incredibly concerning problem. And having shone that light, we can then take action to solve it.”

GWPR was launched last year, as an umbrella organisation, linking WPR national networking groups, so we can address key issues like this both for women and for the PR industry worldwide.”

The ICCO organisation is facilitating the global platform for the research. ICCO comprises PR trade associations representing over 2,500 agencies, in 48 countries worldwide.


If you have any questions about the research, or are interested in taking part, please contact Sue Hardwick or Angela Oakes


PR In Africa: Changing The Narrative


Article by Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA)


Many years ago, The Economist magazine carried a cover story describing Africa as a ‘hopeless continent’. Several years later, The Economist reversed itself by coming out with another cover titled ‘ Rising Africa’. There lies the paradox that is Africa- it’s in its narrative! Undisputedly the next frontier in global development, Africa has witnessed impressive growth from foreign direct investment compared to other parts of the world. The disadvantage of our infrastructure deficit has resulted in massive funds injection, which presents significant opportunities for public relations practitioners on the continent.

The origins of Public Relations practice in Africa are somewhat hazy. What is clear though, is that  a substantial dose of public relations was used in Africa during the Second World War not just to encourage Africans to enlist in the home armies of their various colonial masters, but also to keep the war propaganda machine going on the continent. During periods of colonial rule, European trading companies like the United African Company (UAC) engaged public relations, perhaps for the very first time, in the area of private sector business. Many government organisations and agencies soon caught on and appointed PR executives. The first set of PR professionals were mostly media and Information Officers of government organisations.

The 1960’s and 70’s were characterised by struggles for, and the attainment of political independence. The effect was the entrenchment of one form of democratic rule or the other across the continent. In these nascent democracies public communication, especially public relations, was an imperative but this new found opportunity was rather short-lived as many African nations soon fell under the jackboot of military coups. A failure of public relations perhaps? Whatever the reason, military takeovers severely stunted the growth and development of public relations practice. Happily, the late 1980’s and 90’s brought about a resurgence of democratic rule in Africa, with an attendant rise in the engagement of public relations.

PR in Africa had hitherto been largely media-centric because the pioneers of the profession were journalists and broadcasters. But over time, its further application in solving marketing and brand challenges, has led to the deepening of the profession across board. Such tools include Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility, content development & management, reputation management  and creativity.

Key PR practice centres on the continent are South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt, with South Africa taking the lead. These countries are located in southern, eastern, western and northern Africa respectively.  South Africa’s leading role is understandable considering that most public relations networks and global corporate giants have headquartered their African operations in South Africa. The biggest consumers of public relations are telecommunications companies, with banks, retailers, the entertainment industry and IT also gaining a fair share of the market. Naturally, PR consulting practices have grown over the years in line with demand. However, with the exception of South Africa, most practices have remained sole proprietorships or partnerships.

As public relations has developed on the continent, so also has the establishment and operations of professional public relations associations. The first association was founded in 1956 in South Africa followed by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations  in 1963.  The Public Relations Society of Kenya was inaugurated in 1971. The umbrella body for public relations associations- the Federation of African Public Relations Associations, was established in 1975 with the sole mandate of developing PR as a tool for selling Africa’s positive image. FAPRA became APRA in 2008 and began to admit individual members in addition to national associations.

In spite of the considerable gains, there is still a lot of ground to cover. For instance the lack of clarity about the value that public relations brings to the table remains an issue. Perhaps because its value is difficult to measure, lack of appreciation for the practice of PR as a profession in its own right is also an issue. Measurement and evaluation continue to be a challenge, as is the dearth of data across the continent. PR also suffers from the intrusion of its twin cousin-professions- journalism and advertising. Today, many markets see PR as little more than an extension of journalism, thus denying PR of its much needed professional and financial regard.

If the narrative must change, it must change from within so that we can take advantage of the significant opportunities that ‘Rising Africa’ presents. Whether the conversation is about the continent or the practice, there is a glaring need to change the narrative.

Yomi Badejo-Okusanya is the current President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and Chief Executive of CMC Connect Burston Marsteller, Lagos, Nigeria.

Serbian Public Relations Association awards the best in the field

The Serbian Public Relations Association (DSOJ) awarded the best communication campaigns, projects and initiatives in 2015 at the traditional 19th annual reception PRijem held this week in Belgrade.

The special guest of the evening was Maxim Behar, President of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) that recently welcomed DSOJ within its members. A total of 87 projects competed for the awards in 13 different categories at this year’s PRijem.

On the occasion of awarding ceremony, President of DSOJ, Jelena Sarenac, said to guests at the event:

“The Serbian Public Relations Association gathers all PR professionals in Serbia and improves our profession actively. We want to empower cooperation with our colleagues and similar organisations all over the world, in order to keep in track with newest trends and also present examples of good practice from our market globally. At this journey, membership in ICCO is vital for us, since it makes our organisation more visible both in our country and internationally. We are very happy and proud for having the President of ICCO, Mr. Maxim Behar, with us at our yearly awarding ceremony in Belgrade.”

At this year’s awarding ceremony, the Serbian Public Relations Association awarded Represent Communications with PR agency of the year (large agencies) and SVA agency (small and medium agencies).

Awards also went to New Moment New Ideas Company, Executive Group, Home Page, Smart Vision and Blumen Group, while a special award for Extraordinary Contribution to Communications went to Miloje Sekulic from Home Page agency.



The Serbian Public Relations Association was established on 17 May 2004, continuing the tradition of PR Society of Yugoslavia – the oldest professional organisation in this field on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The company founders are prominent representatives of the University, the agency for public relations, government institutions and organisations, as well as large private companies. The mission of the organisation is to contribute to the field and the public relations profession, to assist the introduction and implementation of the highest professional and ethical standards and implement cutting-edge professional programs, organisation of conferences, seminars and training, as well as international cooperation and exchange of experiences.


New Italian guidelines for private tenders: agreement between Assorel and UPA

Assorel, Italian PR Agencies Association and ICCO Member, and Utenti Pubblicità Associati (UPA), the organisation representing Italian investors in communication, have drawn up a document providing guidelines for the correct and transparent conduct of the selection of the agencies during a private tender.

According to the two Associations, consultations would be the most profitable way to start the selection, but if for operational reasons a tender is required it is good practice to have reports for its proper conduct, or to establish shared principles between clients and agencies.

The document includes guidelines about the number of participants, indication of agencies invited to participate in a tender, evaluation criteria of projects, timing of presentations and flat rate refunds for all projects.

The report does not offer prescriptive directions, but shared principles between clients and agencies. With these guidelines UPA and Assorel hope to set a relationship that benefits the quality of work and results for both parties.

For more information:

ASSOREL – Alessandro Costella –

UPA – Giovanna Maggioni –



ASSOREL is the Italian Association of Public Relations Agencies, founded in 1982 which brings together the major operators in Italy and a member of Confindustria Intellect and ICCO – International Communications Consultancy Organisation – the global organization that brings together the Associations of 36 countries.

About UPA

Utenti Pubblicità Associati (UPA) is an Association that brings together the most important and prestigious industrial companies, commercial and service companies that invest in advertising and communications in Italy.

ICCO announces latest member: Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) announced at its Global Summit that the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms (CCPRF) has joined its growing membership.

Speaking at the ICCO Summit in Milan, ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham announced that the CCPRF has joined the Organisation, bringing its association membership to 32.

Comprising the senior leadership of Canada’s public relations industry, the goal of the CCPRF is to promote the high value, professionalism and development of public relations consulting and provide leadership in areas that influence industry growth and performance.

Following the CCPRF’s inclusion, ICCO now represents 32 national PR associations, collectively representing over 2,500 agencies around the world.

David Gordon, Chair, Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms, said: “It is a pleasure to be joining this global network of PR consultancy associations, and look forward to sharing knowledge and best practice with our peers from around the world.”

Speaking in Milan, Francis Ingham said: “I am very pleased to welcome the CCPRF, a hugely important association on the world PR stage. As ICCO grows, so does its relevance and vibrancy, and its ability to represent the global PR community with a single unified communications voice.”

About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 32 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australasia. Collectively, these associations represent over 2,500 PR firms. Contact Binta Kristin Hammerich, ICCO General Manager

– See more at:


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