Andrew Pirie | Influence 100

Andrew Pirie

General Manager Corporate Relations
Spark New Zealand
New Zealand



After overseeing Weber Shandwick Asia-Pacific for several years, Andrew Pirie returned to his native New Zealand in 2007, working agency-side before taking on the top communications role at telecommunications giant Spark in 2012. Under his leadership, Spark has successfully repositioned as a progressive digital services player, capitalizing on Pirie’s undoubted corporate affairs and public relations savvy.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
In February 2014, Telecom NZ announced it would be changing its name to Spark later that year, and 95% of New Zealanders thought it was a bad, crazy idea. By the time the rebrand took effect in August, the majority had come on board with the idea and the rebrand was recognised as one of the most successful in New Zealand corporate history.

What do you love about this industry?
The glorious uncertainty that every day brings – and the challenges of navigating through that uncertainty while keeping focused on a long-term, strategic vision.

What most frustrates you about this industry?
That too many CEOs struggle to take a broad view of what corporate communications can deliver for their organisations.

What are the communications industry’s biggest challenges and opportunities?
To continue to drive for better understanding and respect in the C-suite of what strategic communications can help to achieve.

How do you relax or change pace when you’re not at work?
I've always been someone who likes to keep themselves active. Going for a run or a bike ride is my way of refreshing and recharging myself.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
A professional athlete ... but sadly without the necessary talent to ever succeed!