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Who is the best? We ask Zeno’s Steve Earl who he reckons is the best PR person in the UK

In the latest series asking "who the is the best?" PRmoment's founder Ben Smith sat down with Zeno's Steve Earl to push him to pick his top three people in PR:

It’s tough to pick three people who I admire above all in PR. There’s truly a long list. What I’ve come up with are three people I admire for different reasons, each of whom is fundamental to agency success.

1. Bill Jones, founder Lexis PR, non-executive director of several agencies since

When I say that Bill is unique I’m not paying him a backhanded compliment – he’s one of the very few people in the industry who manages to combine a no-BS focus on commercial priorities with an understanding of the value of creativity in communications and the power of influence. I worked with him for several years when he was chairman of Speed Communications.

Every time I’m in the US and drive past a 55-speed-limit sign I think of his simple but accurate ratio for managing agency performance, which he drilled into me and many more. A guy who understands that agency commercial success and making clients successful goes absolutely hand-in-hand, and that agencies are in business to do business, not overly obsess about their craft.

2. Sarah Atkinson, VP communications EMEA, CA Technologies

Sarah was my very first client 20+ years ago when she had not long started at Cisco Systems, and we later worked together again briefly when she was at 3Com. Poor Sarah thought she’s got rid of me but now she’s my client at CA Technologies.

Sarah’s that rare example of a client who both drives the agency hard for commercially-relevant results and fully understands the agency’s needs, its people dynamics and how the relationship can work best. She calls a spade a spade, works harder than most people I know and her focus is relentless. Quite simply, she’s a model client and just gets things done with both diplomacy and tenacity.

3. Tim Hoang, VP social media EMEA, BlackRock

Tim’s on this list for a different reason, and not just because he’s a Manchester United fan. He’s the perfect example of how hard work, ambition and pluck can be applied in equal measures to get ahead, no matter how you land in the PR world.

I hired Tim as a receptionist more than 10 years ago – the Bradford boy had just stepped off the train and still saw Brie as an exotic danger. He was soon taking on client work with flair and remained forever honest about his capabilities, and what he wanted to learn. He did so fast, becoming a flagbearer for integrating social media engagement in campaigns and moving through senior digital roles at a raft of top agencies. All with a cheeky West Yorkshire patter, and a now-expanded palette.

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