PR Agency Executive of the Decade
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

PR Agency Executive of the Decade

Who met one of the biggest management challenges of the decade and emerged as the leader of a world-class global public relations brand?

Paul Holmes

When BSMG Worldwide and Weber Shandwick merged in 2000 to create what was then the world’s largest public relations agency, the combination created an industry giant—and a giant challenge.


Today, with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that Harris Diamond was exactly the right man for that challenge. Not only did he manage the integration of the two agencies with the minimum of fuss and almost no personnel conflict or client fallout; he also addressed cultural and structural weaknesses—despite its size, it was fragmented, and served relatively few big global account—and created a foundation that allowed the firm to grow into arguably the most successful public relations agency in the world.


Perhaps most impressively, Diamond succeeded in keeping the core management team together, and it is a notable achievement that the majority of the Weber Shandwick leadership team today has been with the firm since the merger: Jack Leslie, who like Diamond himself came out of BSMG; Andy Polansky from the old Bozell PR; former EMEA and now Asia-Pacific chief executive Tim Sutton (part of the BSMG-owned Charles Barker operation); North American president Cathy Calhoun; office leaders like Sara Gavin and Ken Luce.


Under his leadership, Weber Shandwick has been named Agency of the Year in the U.S., Europe and Asia, by this publication and PR Week, and is now an industry giant not only in terms of size but also—and more importantly—in terms of quality, having consistently outperformed the market over the past five years and established itself as a leader and thought leader around the world.


Diamond himself was one of the first recipients of the our Individual Achievement SABRE Award, and now adds PR Executive of the Decade to his roster of accomplishments.



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