Pierre Goad | Influence 100

Pierre Goad

Group MD and Group Head of Communications
UK, Europe


Long-established as one of the most candid communicators in the business, Pierre Goad’s work amid challenging conditions has not gone unnoticed, and last year HSBC consolidated global communications leadership under Goad, who has spent more than 15 years with the bank. Goad’s remit had already been extended to include human resources, underlining the increasingly close relationship between employee engagement and the communications function.

Goad joined HSBC in Hong Kong in 2001, moving to London in 2003. He held a series of global business communications and strategy roles until 2010, when he left for a one-year stint as head of communications at Zurich Insurance Group, before returning to HSBC in 2011. Holding dual Canadian and British nationality, Goad spent a decade in his early career at Dow Jones, in editorial positions at The Wall Street Journal.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
During the darkest days for the banking industry post the financial crisis, communications – especially internal comms – helped HSBC defend and sustain its reputation.

What do you love about this industry?
Every day is a new day. The opportunity to be at the heart of challenging, business-critical issues is challenging and invigorating.

What most frustrates you about this industry?
Cheap stunts and fake news. Comms should be about facts, and facts matter more than ever.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
Biggest challenge: to be commercially relevant to the businesses we support. This is also our greatest opportunity.

How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
Reading books and collecting wine. And training our two Labrador puppies.

Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
“The West Wing” is still the best TV series about comms. I've watched the full series at least three times.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
I love my job and I love this profession. My grandfather wanted me to be a corporate lawyer. I loved my grandfather but I'm very glad I ignored his advice.