Matthew Freud, the Shadowy Prince of PR

Can't understand why we've got PR guru Matthew Freud on this month's cover? The editor explains.

by Matthew Gwyther, MT Editor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

I make no excuses. He's one of the most compelling individuals in UK business at the moment, with his finger in more pies than the chief quality controller in Melton Mowbray. But, as a true prince of the silent shadows, he seldom opens his mouth to be quoted on the record. So, it is no MT judgment slip - Freudian or otherwise - and we went to some lengths to portray him in the style of his uncle, the great Lucian Freud.

'But he's only a jumped-up PR!', the detractors will shriek. In response to which I'll brandish a quote from Michael Wolff's hugely entertaining book The Man Who owns the News - Inside the secret world of Rupert Murdoch (Freud is Murdoch's son-in-law). According to Wolff, a Freud fan, Matthew is a 'man of unspeakable craftiness, lounge-lizard smoothness, deep connectedness, superb analytic abilities and possibly dynastic ambitions of his own. Indeed Murdoch, initially, was rather horrified by him.'

And don't think Freud just sells celeb stories to the Sun - his corporate accounts include Asda, AOL, Carphone Warehouse, Pepsi and Nike. And don't kid yourself that during a downturn, proper corporate communications aren't even more vital if you want to avoid reputational disaster and winding up on the dust heap of business history. Now tell me you don't want to hear about him and his arcane world straight from the horse's mouth.

Equally vital reading is John McLaren's piece about Japan and the parallels between the calamity that befell its economy at the beginning of the '90s and what we in the UK are suffering now. As an ex-investment banker and Foreign Office diplomat turned novelist and financier who worked for almost a decade in Tokyo, McLaren is the one to tackle the subject and deliver some hints about how UK Plc could avoid the Japanese fate of floundering in the doldrums for half a generation.

Finally, we're determined to bring you some monthly rays of sunshine to penetrate the gloom. We've found four businesses that buck the dismal trend, including a couple from Newark who run a thriving concern renting out designer handbags. For a weekly fee of £35, you can have a Giant Stud on your arm as you attend your favourite cocktail bar or that important board meeting. And it's not the actor Oliver Tobias to whom I refer but one of Balenciaga's 'large statement pieces' (RRP £1,180). I'll stick with the Pantone man-bag, thanks.

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