THURSDAY 28 FEB 2013 12:41 PM


“I said at the outset I’d do three years, and three years have gone” says Jane Wilson, on the day her resignation from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations was announced.

Wilson, who will serve out a six month period of notice, was brought in to provide a stronger financial discipline and introduce process change to an organisation that had, in 2010, just been the indirect victim of fraud that resulted in a £1/2 m loss. That she has achieved that cannot be denied. The 2012 accounts, currently being audited, are expected to show that, for the first time in its history, the Institute has been profitable for three years in a row. Her tenure, however, has not been incident free, with some complaints aired over the most recent presidential election process, which resulted in the outcome being declared void. In Wilson’s defence, however, she was quick to review and overhaul the CIPR election process.

When pressed about her next step Wilson insists there is no appointment pending. “I’m in a very visible role in a relatively small industry - people would be talking the moment my CV left my desk”. She’s adamant, however, that her next role won’t be with another institute. ““I came to the CIPR from a commercial background and always intended to return to a professional public relations role after three years.” She also doubts that she could replicate the appetite she has shown for public relations and reputation management topics. “I did this job because it was my own institute, my own industry. I’m sure engineering or waste management are fascinating, but I really can’t see me speaking with any passion on issues from within those sectors.”

Wilson was adamant there were no hidden underlying or alternative reasons for her departure, and was adamant that a three year position had been her plan from the outset. Indeed, there is no sense of a desperation to escape. “I’ve already said to the board, that if I’ve no job and they have no CEO I’d be happy to stay on an extra three months.” She does add, however, that she finds both scenarios highly unlikely.

Having achieved her primary objective of restoring stability, both financially and reputationally, the key objective for her successor will be, she feels, to focus on accessibility and digital reach. She feels that, for the CIPR to truly represent all its members, their location should be irrelevant. “The CIPR needs to be make sure that it has complete reach to all of its members, with all of its activities, through online and digital channels.

The CIPR will now need to appoint her successor. Wilson suggests that whoever follows in her footsteps will need a thick skin. “With such a large membership base, diplomacy is one of the key attributes needed in this role, as is a resilience to criticism” said Wilson, adding “the past three years have been an amazing experience.”

Curriculum Vitae: Jane Wilson

2010 – present Chief executive, Chartered Institute of Public Relations
2010 Communications director,
2003 – 2008 Communications director, GCap Media, (formerly Capital Radio plc)
2001 – 2003 Account director, Impact Consultancy
1999 – 2001 Corporate communications manager, SMG plc
1997 – 1999 Marketing & communications director, First Ford Ltd
1996 – 1997 Marketing executive, Celtic FC
Glasgow Caledonian University, BA (Hons) Communication and Mass Media (2:1)
Montabella High School, MI, USA
St Andrews High School, East Kilbride