OECD Forum Speakers Series: Talking trust


Robert Phillips, Co-Founder of Jericho Chambers, Author & former CEO of Edelman

The fall of public relations and the rise of public leadership

Friday, 17 January 2014, 12:30 – 14:00
OECD Conference Centre, Auditorium


As part of the OECD Forum Speakers Series, Robert Phillips delivered a presentation focusing on the theme Talking Trust.

Business and political leaders talk a lot about trust but few actually understand it. Trust often spoken is trust rarely earned and, contrary to what many would have us believe, there is neither a silver bullet to restore trust nor a return to "old" trust. The world has changed.

In this short talk, Robert explores many of the themes in his forthcoming book (Trust Me: The Future of Business Is Safe In Our Hands), examining why many existing models of trusted leadership are no longer fit for purpose. The future, he argues, lies in a new concept of Public Leadership, which is co-produced and citizen-centric. This is the logical response to a world that is increasingly atomised and activist and where power and influence are asymmetrical.

Robert also discusses the role of communication in building trust in business, city and nation states. He explores the fall of Public Relations and the rise of Public Leadership – pointing out that "spin" is dead and that communications to build trusted leadership, companies and brands must be transformative, radical, democratic and disruptive.

Robert is the author of Trust Me: The Future of Business Is Safe In Our Hands, due for publication in Spring 2014 and the co-author of Citizen Renaissance ( He has written a number of essays and pamphlets on trust and the future of communications. He is a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, London, and is currently developing new models of Public Leadership – co-produced and citizen-centric.

Until December 2012, Robert was EMEA President & CEO of Edelman. He also served as Global Chair of its Public Engagement & Future Strategies group and was closely involved with the Annual Edelman Trust Barometer. He was previously UK CEO of Edelman and co-founder of Jackie Cooper Public Relations.

Robert is a Fellow of the RSA; a Trustee of The Creative Society; an Associate at the Centre for London; and has sat on the Advisory Boards of the Global Economic Symposium and the European Circle of Communicators, as well as the CBI London Council. He is a Fellow of the Public Relations Consultants Association and Vice Chair of the PRCA Diversity Network.


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