Arun Sudhaman 16 Jun 2020 // 7:00AM GMT
Tim Sutton will be honoured with the Individual Achievement SABRE Award on 30 June 2020, at the Virtual EMEA SABRE Awards.
Sutton receives the award after concluding a 16-year career with Interpublic Group, which included leadership of Weber Shandwick across Asia-Pacific and EMEA.
After joining Weber Shandwick as chairman of EMEA in 2004, Sutton moved to Hong Kong in 2007 to oversee Asia-Pacific before returning to London in 2015 as A-P & EMEA chairman of CMG, the Interpublic unit that houses its PR, sports and event marketing agencies.
Sutton's leadership of Weber Shandwick included consistent growth across Asia-Pacific and EMEA, often at industry-leading levels, and led to multiple Agency of the Year honours in both regions.
"Tim was for many years a central figure in helping to develop Weber Shandwick’s collaborative culture in Europe and Asia," said Andy Polansky, chairman and CEO of IPG's CMG division. "In between leadership stints in Europe, Tim played a significant role in transforming the agency’s Asia Pacific business as it grew to become one of the industry’s regional market leaders. In addition, Tim was a sought-after corporate affairs adviser for some of our client’s most pressing challenges."
Prior to his career with Weber Shandwick, Sutton was chairman of Orpheus Group and chairman of BSMG Worldwide’s European operations. Before that, he was CEO of UK PR firm Charles Barker.
"Tim is properly wise. Almost sage," said David Brain, who worked alongside Sutton at Charles Barker. "A lot of senior practitioners in PR are clever or smart and as an industry we put a huge emphasis on interpreting trends, understanding the market or reacting to events, but Tim is one of those rare people that can also step back and bring perspective and calm and remain focused on the big picture. It is a rare talent and one of the reasons he is amongst the very best CEO whisperers.
"He’s known these days for being one of the architects of the extraordinary rise and rise of Weber Shandwick and for his brilliant stewardship of the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions of that firm, but his history is award-winning campaigning. At Paragon Communications in the 1980’s, his work for the Brewers Society combined grass roots advocacy with a BBH advertising campaign that stopped the then-Tory government in its attempt to make the big breweries sell off their pubs. That was a radical approach for public affairs in those days.
"He was a lead member, and later CEO, of the MBO team that revived Charles Barker, allegedly the UK’s oldest PR firm, which he and his partners subsequently sold to an entity that become part of IPG. During that time, he conceived and led the campaign for challenger airline British Midland that won them slots at Heathrow airport, breaking BA’s near monopoly and, in many ways, heralding the era of liberal and cheap air travel. It was probably the most awarded corporate campaign of the 1990s in the UK.
"For all his campaigning and business building achievements, I suspect Tim will be as much remembered by his colleagues and clients for his style, and by that I mean his ability at one minute to leaven his advice with Homeric quotes, and the next reference Brian Clough, the revered ex-manager of his beloved Derby County.
"Many of us have been inspired, encouraged and helped by Tim throughout our careers and whilst he is in no way retiring from the business, it is safe to say the PR industry will be poorer for the lack of his urbane presence in one of the big jobs."