Mis-Communicator of the Week: Peter Long
23rd February 2016
Securing a front page news story from an interview with a senior executive can sometimes be a struggle. While a good PR team will know the nugget that might elevate an hour chat over coffee to a market moving golden moment, the executive may not.
Then there are those senior suits who are all too willing to get dragged down a conversational cul-de-sac which secures a fantastic splash of a story - it's just not the one anyone wanted.
Finally there are those who know exactly what they are doing. It's on their choice of subject that problems develop.
In the breathless environment ahead of the prime minister attending a potentially generation shaping EU summit this week, we have been bombarded with all kinds of unfortunate speculation over what might be the repercussions of Brexit - the U.K. leaving the EU.
The most extreme and shrill I have seen was on the front page of the Sunday Times with a warning that Brexit would put holiday makers in mortal danger. It is the EU that keeps us all safe from terror when we head off on our sunshine holidays. The warning came from Peter Long, chairman-in-waiting, at global travel conglomerate Tui.
Long's company lost 33 of the 38 holidaymakers slaughtered on a beach in Tunisia by Islamist terrorists. He has dealt personally with a severe crisis and so might claim this gives him the credibility to make such a claim.
As written in the Sunday Times Business section it appears immediately after his pre-planned warning is uttered that he has had second thoughts. He refuses when asked to state his warning in plainer language but, as the journalist writes "his point could hardly be any clearer."
Apart from the obvious fact that the UK's membership of the EU did not keep those poor murdered people on a Tui holiday safe, this intervention is horribly ill considered and distasteful.
Peter Long's interview with the Sunday Times was one long pitch for another couple of Chairmanships to add to his portfolio. The headline that came out of it though showed a lack of judgement one expects from a Chairman, which is why Peter Long is my Mis-Communicator of the Week.
Mis-Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.