Front page news in Europe is that Former Metropolitan Police chief Sir Paul Stephenson has joined a crisis PR agency. Stephenson resigned following allegations of his police force being involved with alleged phone taps with The News of the World.

Might be a first that a police chief joins the public relations world – but I am sure it wont be the last, and his new role will have him counseling crisis clients for a firm whose employees according to their press release does everything from “cyber and information security, IP and brand protection, human rights and anti-corruption compliance, financial crime, health and safety, pandemics, medical and evacuation support, geopolitical and business intelligence, cultural and negotiation specialists, due diligence and investigations and wider security.” All of those are necessary skills to succeed at a crisis PR firm.

Stephenson was humble about moving on – when asked about regrets, he said: “That’s for fairytales. You do what you think is right, you stand by it and you move on.” “I don’t know of anybody who’s been in a leadership position as long as I was who won’t have a record of doing some fantastic things and some things they wish they’d done better.

Anyone who claims otherwise is in fantasy land or lying.”

Working in crisis public relations, it’s a non-stop fire drill. Remember:

  • Be prepared for a crisis by thinking about all possibilities before they occur.
  • Online reputation management/online crisis PR matters tremendously – Google search results are more important than one negative story
  • Requires instant attention

A police chief will know that in the world of crisis, this isn’t an option:

“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” Henry Kissinger


Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a NY Public Relations Agency.

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