James Murphy is the chairman and CEO of Murphy & Co.
Murphy was the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Accenture and current Chairman and CEO of Murphy and Company, a management consulting firm specializing in corporate marketing and communications. Mr. Murphy successfully let the effort to rebrand and reposition Accenture in 2000 - 2001 which won widespread recognition for the company.
Mr. Murphy also chairs the PR Coalition, which focuses on issues of interest to all communications professionals and has been recognized for his expertise in government and investor relations, editorial and media activities, corporate advertising, crisis communications, marketing communications and philanthropy, plus many others professional skills.
Interviewer: Okay, well I’m sitting here with Jim Murphy at the Arthur Page Society Conference in California. It’s Monday, September 17. And Mr. Murphy you graduated from the University of Illinois, 1974. And you have a degree in journalism. Now you’re sitting here. What ultimately lead you to end up being in corporate and in an agency field?
Murphy: Well I started out in the newspaper business in Buffalo, New York and enjoyed it a lot but discovered you couldn’t make any money at it. And I had an opportunity to be a speech-writer for a CEO of a big company and I took it. And from there it launched my career in public relations and eventually in a broader business assignments. I ran a division of a large company for a long time in addition to my public relations background and I broadened my experience into a marketing role, so and in my most recent role at Accenture I was chief marketing and communications officer so I have a pretty broad business background.
Murphy: I wished 1974 by the way was the right year. It was 1958.
Interviewer: Where did I get ’74? 1958, yeah, okay 1958. Okay well during those years at Owens Corning and Beatrice and Merrill Lynch, did you have a mentor as you worked your way from strictly journalism expertise into speech writing and doing more of a role within public relations?
Murphy: I can’t say I really did. I mean I there were a number of people, very influential, but there wasn’t really one mentor. At Owens Corning I had opportunities to work with the CEO, so that gave me lots of exposure in the company and as I eventually ended up I was a division general manger. I moved out of public relations and went into line management. And that was helped through that CEO’s involvement but I never thought of him as a mentor. It was just where I ended up. And then I was recruited at both Beatrice and Merrill Lynch and there were people there who were recruiting me. But if I never felt they were there trying to look out for my well being. Not that they were in any way negative, just, the mentor I think about is a professor, Professor Sutton at the University of Illinois, who got me, helped me get the first job. And I was a guy working his way through the University of Illinois from Belleville, Illinois and didn’t have a lot of money and I have some ambition. And there were a lot more qualified people I thought in my class that he could have recommended to this job in Buffalo but he recommended me for some reason. And it was interesting because it was a summer intern job with no guarantee you would get the job in September. And I will never forget, I went to Buffalo, I was earning $52.50 a week. Lived in the YMCA and bet my life on three months of work and there was a guy from Harvard and a guy from Yale all competing for this job. Maybe they wanted more money or something but I got the job so it was great. So that’s how I got started, in journalism anyway so.
Interviewer: So is there, I would be jumping here to 1986, when you went to Burson Marsteller, but is there anything can you talk about, okay, at Owens Corning, this is where you worked closely with the CEO. Then you were recruited by Beatrice. And from there by
Murphy: By Merrill Lynch right
Interviewer: Can you talk a little bit about your experiences at Merrill Lynch?
Murphy: Well Merrill Lynch was and is one of the most dynamic companies in the world. And in the financial services business there is never literally a dull moment. So the, it’s a high wire act that financial services company like Merrill Lynch and there is never any let up. The tension is constant. Crisis dijour whether it’s a bond crisis or credit crisis or some broker is doing the wrong thing or whatever. It’s just a hugely tension-filled anxiety-filled role. A lot of people. I loved it. It was great. But with some management changes there and some other things developing in my own life, I wanted to try the agency side. So that’s when I went to Burson Marsteller so.
Interviewer: Okay so you landed at Burson Marsteller and could you just talk a little bit about the challenges that you found when you made that transition.
Murphy: I moved over to run the corporate practice at Burson, which was a natural fit for what I’ve been doing. I mean I had had experience in three different industries, diversified food business, manufacturing, and financial services with Merrill Lynch so I had a good background to do this. And the first couple of years were built, spent building the corporate practice and I think by the time we finished that exercise we were the largest corporate public relations practice in the world. And then I moved into running the New York office and then the US and then the Americas for Burson. And that’s what I was doing until Acceture at that time management consulting convinced me to do something differently so.
Interviewer: Let me ask you a question now about this experience. What do you think about accreditation for the PR profession? Do you see this as something that is necessary to the field, similar to medical accreditation?
Murphy: Well I think it’s a lofty ambition. A lot of people think that we need it. I don’t know how practical it is. The there’s no certification to be a CEO because of its broad responsibilities. But the public relations processional is the only person in the organization who has a similar set of roles as the CEO, touching everything in the company. And so how do you train for that? I mean how do you certify for that? Well you have some basic things but most of all you have to know about the business you are in. So how do you certify someone to know about Merrill Lynch or about Owens? I mean it’s just, it’s just hard if you are looking for background requirements. Today if you don’t have an MBA in business no matter what field you are in you are probably missing a bet. And liberal arts background professional experience in communications, an MBA is probably the best bet going forward. I had a journalism degree and that was great. But I would guess you could make a case for liberal arts background too against that. But I’m on the development board on the University of Illinois so I don’t want to say this too loudly. They won’t like that. But Illinois does a great job. I’ve been on the advisory board at Medill at Northwestern so I’m deeply involved in journalistic education. What I am saying is you can come from another space too to be successful in the field. But knowledge of business and the company you are in is absolutely essential. Because without that as a given you can’t even sit at the table. So you have to be credible about the business.
Interviewer: Have you had any experiences going into the classroom situations helping the students with their …
Murphy: I’ve had some. I’ve been back to Illinois a couple of times, Haven’t done a lot of that. No maybe I’ll do more of it now but I haven’t really done a lot of that so.
Interviewer: Do you think that today’s students graduating in public relations are ready for ethical decision making as they of course start out and work their way through the business.
Murphy: I think so. I just haven’t had enough exposure to that although we recruit at Accenture, we recruit a lot of people, so I get exposure to graduates that way. And I find today’s graduate quite ethical. I don’t I mean see ethical business to me is, well of course you don’t go to business today in a large company without being ethical. It’s a given. I mean it’s a price of entry. It’s not a plus. I mean if you are not ethical you are not going to survive today in the transparent world. So I think the kids, the kids, I mean the young people coming into business get it. I think they understand that.
Murphy: They certainly see enough headlines about people who are not ethical so they ought to get that message right?
Murphy: The media do not let up on this so.
Interviewer: Let’s talk just a minute about ethical leadership and get into Accenture and everything that happened there. It’s a very complicated chain of events for me as an outsider just reading what I was able to read what happened. It started in ’89 which was the year of the establishment of Anderson Consulting in the Arthur Anderson firm.
Murphy: No that’s an erroneous statement. Okay we’ll start with that because that’s where, that’s a core issue right there that you just said. In 1989 an organization was formed called Anderson Worldwide.
Murphy: And under Anderson Worldwide was put Arthur Anderson Accounting and Anderson Consulting. There were two separate business entities entirely. Anderson Consulting per se was never part of Arthur Anderson. It was a sister company. Now it came out of Arthur Anderson as known as the Administrative Services Division of Arthur Anderson. But when they formed Anderson Worldwide two separate companies were formed and the ownership of those two companies were divided between the partners, between each. And that was a confusing point throughout the entire set of exercises and the arbitrator at the end of the day, you know clarified that very sharply that their ownership was split in ’89, there was never any connection after that time. So I it’s a long story. I was fortunate to be there in the sense that it was a phenomenal public relations and marketing challenge. But it came out of the marketplace driving people’s actions in a way that it was unfortunate because what happened was the consulting business was much more robust and profitable than the accounting business at the time. And the agreement had to do between the two companies, was sharing earnings each year and Anderson Consulting was paying Arthur Anderson $100 million a year because of its greater success. Well Arthur Anderson, in violation as the arbitrator found later on of the contract between the companies, was reinvesting that money back into the consulting business. And the basic agreement in ’89 was consulting business was for Anderson Consulting and auditing and tax was for Arthur Anderson and there was to be in violation of that. And there was years of arguments about that of debate and are you violating the contract or whatever and finally in desperation, the management of Anderson Consulting filed an arbitration against Arthur Anderson and Anderson Worldwide. That was the only vehicle they had. They, the bylaws wouldn’t allow litigation, only arbitration. And the arbitrator two and a half years later ruled totally in favor of Anderson Consulting, said that both Anderson Worldwide and Arthur Anderson had violated the contract and dissolved the contract. And so there is no longer any connection between the two. Now interesting enough, in the contract was the licensing agreement for the use of the word Anderson. That was owned by the Illinois partnership of Arthur Anderson historically and the contract which was voided at Anderson Consulting’s plea essentially eliminated Anderson’s ability to use the word. So we had 144 days to find a new name for Anderson Consulting, and working in 100 countries and trying to find a new name, it was almost impossible. We had 5,000 candidate names and ten cleared all trademark clearances etc. out of 5000. Just ten. We could have used only ten. and we picked Accenture. It was an idea of one of our own consultants, and actually his English was second language for the person, it’s Scandinavian that said Accent of the future. Put them together. It was that simple. That’s where it comes from.
Interviewer: Can you maybe add to the problems you had with all the rebranding and the launching of the new…..
Murphy: Well, it was an unbelievable task and it’s a case study among case studies. I mean there’s nothing really ever like it in business-to-business in particular, because you couldn’t use the word after January 1, 2001. You just couldn’t use it. It isn’t like you could drag it out or put up with some guy in Germany saying well I’m not going to change until March or I don’t like the new name and I’m not going to do it. None of that was permitted. And that in one sense was a plus because no one was able to drag their feet. So we marshaled our self in a way that was remarkable in retrospect. In one sense, the marketing communications function, which I led, ran the company for a couple months. Because everything had to be turned to make this change and we were very successful at it. And it took us 75 days to get the name, then 75 days to implement it. But think about it, we had 85,000 people, just the business cards for everybody. Okay, every sign. Every database. We had 15,000 databases that had to be changed. Every paycheck. I mean you just can’t, hundred of thousands of changes. And what we did is we put together a co-, the project was lead by co-leaders. One was one of the people in marketing who worked for me and the other person came out of our private management team who worked for clients who do big technology jobs. And so this is an individual who understood how to take every piece of a project and track it. So we had the partnership of the creative people in the marketing guise with this projected management skill set which worked very well so it was phenomenal success, and the company just relishes it, it was a phenomenal thing that we did.
Interviewer: It was quite an accomplishment….
Murphy: Right, and within 12 months the Accenture name was the 51st best brand by Business Week, best known brand in a year.
Interviewer: I remember the ads.
Murphy: One of the things that we did, a couple side lines. We, we didn’t want to promote the Anderson Consulting name but we wanted our advertising to continue so we used a devise where we crossed out the Anderson Consulting name and put in 0101 which coincidentally the date of this change and 01 in computer’s talk is a crucial set of digits. So that’s our business, so it just serendipitously was beautifully done. It worked out great. Another thing that happened is we couldn’t bring ourselves to throw away or burn all the paraphernalia we use for golf events and give away to clients and employees and T-shirts and everything. So we gave them to charitable organizations. And I got a call one day from an attorney at Arthur Anderson very upset at me because he had seen some a street person wearing one of the Anderson Consulting T-shirts walking in Chicago, because the YMCA or someone gave these things away and he thought we were degrading the Anderson name because they wanted to use it going forward. So that was we just couldn’t’ bring ourselves to burn them. So they are still floating around somewhere, thousands of them.
Interviewer: Let’s talk just a second about outsourcing. Were there functions that you outsourced at Accenture, and do you outsource some work now in your, at Murphy and Company?
Murphy: Well, part of the arrangement I had with Accenture was, I provided my management services through my own company. I was not an employee of Accenture but I served as head of marketing. So, one outsourcing was to me, I mean the leadership was outsourced. In addition there were other opportunities for Murphy and Company to do other work for Accenture. That was part of the contract arrangements. And we do much of the internet work for Accenture. Website and a lot of Internet marketing. In terms of outsourcing the marketing communications functions, we use major global advertising and public relations firms around the world and we also use the corporate entity firm. Other than that, we do, there are 500 people at Accenture in marketing communications, so it’s a combination of outsourcing and but it wasn’t really, we didn’t consider outsourcing. I mean we considered it, specialist skills that we weren’t going to staff inside. It’s a more traditional view of using agencies as opposed to outsourcing. Although the relation with Murphy was more of an outsourcing situation. So now, in terms of outsourcing Accenture, is in that business of outsourcing to major clients from major clients in every business process you can think of. And I would guess there is probably 65,000 employees of Accenture who do outsourcing work for other companies. But not in communications, not in marketing etc.
Interviewer: Let’s just go take a look at mission statements.
Interviewer: Let’s go back to Owens Corning, Beatrice and Merrill Lynch. Did they have codes of ethics and also when you were there and also now with Murphy and Co.? Did you have formalized staff training on ethical behavior?
Murphy: I'm trying to recall. I know all of them had mission statements and ethical standards. No question about that. Certainly Accenture has extensive training in ethical behavior. And Merrill Lynch does too I’m sure. They have all the compliance issues they have, because they are a regulated company by the Federal government, so there’s all sorts of training around that at Merrill Lynch. I think I can’t remember frankly at Beatrice and Owens Corning if there was formal training, but there was certainly formal communications about it all the time. And there was, you signed a document every year about your code of ethics but I can’t remember frankly whether there was training or not so.
Interviewer: … and at Murphy & Co?
Murphy: Well we are small. We’re 75 people and we have a code of ethics but we don’t have any formal training classes, in a sense because we communicate regularly about it and the training class didn’t seem to be necessary so. But if we got larger we would have to do that I’m sure. So…
Interviewer: Well I mean you sort of answered this but do you feel it’s pretty important for a corporation, whatever size it is to have an ethics or mission statement.
Murphy: I mean, I don’t think I mean it’s like having a profit and loss statement. There’s not an option to it. I mean it’s when you talk to someone in the public relations business and they don’t say to you well that’s a given well they don’t get it. I mean you have to have a set of ethics today. It has to be enforced. But I mean it’s not like something that’s it’s an idea someone does. I mean you just do it. It’s not a program like someone has an idea to do it. And at the end of the day how else could you operate? Today’s transparency of big companies there’s no choice about it. So it’s what you do beyond that’s standards ethics. Its’ where you pay back to society. It’s how you direct your investments. It’s how you treat your people beyond the ethical behavior. Beyond the ethics of it all. It’s how you think about your clients and your customers. It’s how you treat your suppliers. It’s well beyond ethical behavior. It’s just being a solid citizen and how you operate around the world. Interesting enough, I’m connected with the Public Relations Coalition and we’ve done something around Brand American because it’s suffering in recent years. And what American businesses do around the world in terms of community service and, if you would, ethical behavior is so far out shining any other countries’ businesses it’s unbelievable. I mean American businesses operate at such a high ethical level in comparison to most companies in the world it’s remarkable. And I don’t think we get a lot of credit for that.
Interviewer: I want to get a few more questions about that in a couple minutes… but let me ask you a little bit about terminology. Recently public relations, communications marketing, and advertising were all mottled together and it’s especially apparent with advertising and public relations in both the corporate and agency side and then there’s this whole thing about branding. Where does that lie? Could you talk about some of the changes that have happened in the terminology within the industry now?
Murphy: Well the terminology discussion has been going on since forever, okay, about What’s public relations? What’s public affairs? What’s corporate communications? Where does the marketing and advertising start? I think you should you have to step back and look at it. This is a business problem or business opportunity for an enterprise. And how they deal with all the constituents. And each company is probably going to be different about this because people are different. Markets are different. Circumstances are different. Investment..looked at a spectrum of closer to the commercial end of things over to the more societal end of things, you’d see sales way over here. Marketing sort of in the middle. You’d see corporate communications here. Then you start to see public affairs. Government affairs. Corporate citizenship over this other end and social responsibility. That’s a CEO’s job. Now how he or she decides how to do all that it’s really individual. Ideally he’d find someone not necessarily the sales piece but the rest of it he’d find somebody who could do it all and oversee it all, but it’s hard to find people with that kind of experience. So to me, it’s more it’s a debate about the people you have and the capabilities that they have to handle the spectrum as opposed to labeling the spectrum or putting one label on one piece and arguing about which is the right angle for the right piece. I think the debate about the language is academic. I mean excuse the expression, but it’s not that important. It’s what important is understanding interplay of all these activities with your major constituents and managing properly. And our speaker at this meeting, CEO from Abbott really gets it about handling all that. And we were very impressed last night by his remarks regarding that so. So the debate over language to me is not a big deal. But I’m sure we will be hearing about it for years. So.
Interviewer: Right. I really wanted to capture your
Murphy: But if you think about the spectrum of how you deal with the external constituents and of course your internal ones too. And think about that that’s the space you should spend your time worrying about, not about what labels on which piece.
Interviewer: Okay you are looking for that individual who will be able to handle that whole continuum, what you were just speaking to.
Interviewer: Can you sit there and tell me what you think might be the characteristics or qualities of the person who could?
Murphy: Well, I mean, unfortunately I handle much of that for not the sales piece but most everything else at Accenture. And what permitted me to do that was a broad background in all sorts of industries, all sorts of activities. Fortunate enough to get assignments across all the communications of marketing disciplines but you sort of need that. But at the end of the day, if you don’t understand the industry and the business you are in, you can’t even come to the table. And if one piece of advice to young people you’ve got to know your business you are in because you will not be credible beyond writing press releases if you are not. So it’s hard. Now what’s the background of people with typical. I think you go back to what I said before today, you need the MBA. You need the business background. You need communication skills. And then you try to get as broad an experience base as you can and whatever company you are in you got to know it well.
Interviewer: Okay, let’s talk a little bit about the current state of PR and technology. In the past, traditionally [inaudible] to influence public opinion but now [inaudible] what we’re thinking may evolve in the future. Do you think you could use the traditional media? Is it falling out of the PR toolbox and being replaced with all kinds of new technology, blogging, whatever? And how does a PR who wants to create change actually accomplish it and how has technology changed that whole process?
Murphy: I think you have to look at it not from the toolbox but from the intermediary channels that you need to use to reach your audiences, no matter what business you are in. If those channels change, you better be there. The channels are changing with new media. So you got to be there. And I think the old channels will also be around but the emphasis on them will be quite different. I mean the newspapers are suffering everyday from obvious issues. Any kind of print journalism, unless it’s highly focused, is slipping. And everything is going to online and all the lack of control and all of the things we talked about are happening to us. But it’s all about making certain you know what channel your audience is going to be most susceptible to use, so that’s where you have to be and you’d better be there before your opposition or your antagonists are or you won’t win. You won’t win the battle of ideas or whatever else you are involved in so. Very important you understand it’s a channel thing that you don’t control. The channels are going to move on you. You just have to be there as they move and as they move so.
Interviewer: Now something, in some of the articles in the recent things that I’ve read about your experiences, you have really gotten into public diplomacy and it has gotten to be a passion for you. Now you wrote, and I don’t remember where I read this, that you believed that it was a huge mistake when the US government dissolved the USIA the United State Information Agency…. and that happened in 1999.
Interviewer: And then it spread its responsibilities around to other entities. And then it slashed the budget of those entities. Now, Arthur Page worked with three presidents in times of rapid change in the world and advised them how to communicate with those various constituencies. So can you talk a little bit about how the Page Principles are applicable to the realm of public diplomacy?
Murphy: Well let’s go down the principles. Public relations should be, you should conduct it as if your the life of your business was dependent upon it. I used to conduct public relations for America like America’s life is dependent upon it. You have to deal with the truth. You have to have fun while you’re doing it. They all apply. With USIA it was like a large corporation eliminated the PR department and cut the budget. I mean, and who’s going to tell you a story? Every little division is going to tell no it isn’t going to work that way. And that’s what happened to the US government. The US government outside of the big defense department, state department and the administrative political, they are almost all politically governed activities. There’s no one agency that is there, sitting there telling the American story, the US story, like it used to. And USIA and Voice of America and all those tools were very instrumental in ending the Cold War. And we have an even greater challenge today in the war of ideas with the rest of the world, the Islamic world in particular, where there’s ideas absolutely shooting at us that we don’t have an adequate response or defense that is unified and coherent. And I think that’s a big mistake, and I don’t understand why our administrations don’t get it. It’s so simple at one level. I assume it was all eliminated because of some set of politics that wanted to get rid of USIA. But the State Department and Karen Hughes is well meaning and they are doing interesting things, but it’s still very splintered and not cohesive enough and not enough of a partnership yet with the private sector and that’s what we’re trying to do with our, with the cooperative thing we did with the State Department, is call attention to all the terrific things that the private sector is doing around the world. And put a spotlight on it and encourage more of it. And the report that we published had 11 steps, practical steps, companies could take to either emphasize what they are doing already or to step up and do some new things that could help in this cause of building the reputation, rebuilding the reputation of America around the world.
Interviewer: I'm going to ask you to talk a little bit more about that. We’ve got a crisis across obviously the United States. You mentioned the PR Coalition and the State Department and what you are trying to do for American businesses. Tell me what the PR Coalition is all about.
Murphy: The PR Coalition is a loosely knit group of 20 some organizations, such as Arthur Page Society, the Public Relations Society of America, all public relations public affairs oriented organizations representing about 50,000 professionals in the US. I helped organize it when I was president of Arthur Page because what we saw was all these various organizations doing similar things but with no crossover, no inner play, no cooperative effort. So the first thing was just to get together to see what we were all doing. To see if there was any common ground to work on, so out of that came a number of initiatives on two or three of these organizations working together and it was positive. But we decided we wanted to identify key issues that we could work as a Coalition and conduct what we called Summit Meetings and we did one on corporate trust which was five years ago, I think it was. And four years ago it was one on diversity in the industry and the last one we did was last year on public diplomacy. And what it does, it serves as a catalyst. ,The PR Coalition has no staff, no budget. It’s sort of myself and a bunch of guys who call men and women who get together now and then representing these organizations. The theory is we do these summits and the organizations themselves take all that material and disseminate it. And theoretically, 50,000 of the professionals in the US have received the materials coming out of the PR Coalition efforts through their own organizations. In addition, with the State Department cooperation they’ve disseminated our report all over the world, certainly throughout their own diplomatic corps, and last week the final letter went out, a joint letter from Karen Hughes and myself to the thousand CEOs heading the thousand best companies in the US., the Fortune news, so that’s been just done, and it’s urging companies to take a look at this. It’s a small step. I mean public policy is going to be the big factor in our reputation around the world. But as long as business is doing as well as we do around the world, we ought to take some credit for it and that’s the theory behind it.
Interviewer: Must be exciting work.
Murphy: It is. It is. It’s very hard, because you can’t see, it’s not like changing Accenture name 0101 into this huge success, okay. It’s just like a dripping faucet. It takes so long to make progress.
Interviewer: Okay well, that said, the second summit that you had was on diversity in the industry.
Interviewer: So it’s been a few years now. Have you seen some…?
Murphy: Well we are going to launch, we’re going to launch the second wave of that this fall. And we’re going to see what’s happened.
Interviewer: What is that second wave?
Murphy: The second wave; that was a benchmark study. It was the diversity, I’m sorry, the research study we did as part of the summit, we talked to the heads of agencies, and the heads of large corporate departments and their attitudes and input about what’s happening with diversity in the profession. And it was a benchmark and it had X issues in it and things coming out of it. Now we’re going to do the second wave this fall to see what progress is going to be made. So we’ll see what happens right. That’s right.
Interviewer: Because it is a real concern.
Murphy: Absolutely! One of the concerns is trying to find enough candidates. I mean the minority candidate today in public relations or marketing is in high demand. I mean, I know at Accenture we put on, I mean our recruiting numbers were not good in this space. And I go to the recruiting organizations and say what’s happening. Then we can’t find the candidates. We can’t find any candidates. And when we do find them, there are ten other companies bidding for them and they are bidding their salaries up higher than we want to pay etc. etc. So I say, so you’re probably not doing this right. They are going to Northwestern looking for minority candidates like they go to Northwestern the last 25 years. Well you’re not going to find many more minority candidates there. Let’s go to places where they are. And so whether it’s Asian, whether it’s African American, whether it’s even American Indian / Native Americans we’re recruiting, where they are in Accenture now and we’ve I think we’ve, the last two years I think 30 percent of our intake were minorities, were getting into marketing functions. But it takes a special effort. You just can’t, you just can’t do what you’ve done in the past, because that’s the old expression, you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you get the same results.
Interviewer: Have you been in the classroom?
Murphy: I haven’t. We have, oh I’ve had people who work for me at Accenture do extensive networking with classrooms, and networking events, job fairs and that type of thing. So no, we’ve been actually, I’m gratified with the success we did make. But it took special effort. So
Interviewer: To make any change.
Interviewer: Okay, well we’re looking at wrapping things up right now. I just want to ask you, in your life or come back in your career maybe not even in your career, which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
Murphy: Well it’d be hard not to nod to the Accenture launch because we created a new company and it’s a phenomenal study. But I was involved for many years particularly at Burson and in all the companies, I managed a lot of crises and whether it was the Perrier recall, you remember that years ago or whether it was the Solomon Brothers bond crisis or whether it was some fire chief burning tub showers for Owens Corning by pouring kerosene on it and lighting the kerosene to show they were flammable. I mean these were things, which were very exciting in the moment, because you got to act within seconds of things. You go on an airplane. You have no time to think about it. And you have to go on your instincts. And they are some of the most exciting times I think in my public relations career. But, and the life of an organization can rest on your decisions. Now, we happen to work with Warren Buffet, but at the Solomon Brothers thing but we were sort of just executing because he’s brilliant, but a number of the crises we worked, we were actually making decisions that were business decisions. And you can sink or swim with the business by what you do in the public relations field. So that’s very exciting. I think the most important, the most exciting thing I’ve ever done though was having my son join me in my business. And Murphy & Company is run by my son and myself and that’s been so gratifying, I can’t describe it. So.
Interviewer: It must be wonderful to work with your son.
Murphy: It is, it is. I don’t know how he puts up with me but it’s great. That’s right. That’s exactly right so.
Interviewer: So is there anything that you’d like to talk about, anything for the upcoming PR professionals to think about?
Murphy: Well it’s an exciting field and I know it’s attracting a lot of people today. It’s becoming a more important seat at the management table at big companies. And everyone’s always uneasy about we can’t define it, like it’s an accountant or lawyer or whatever. And I just say don’t worry about that. This is a business position and you mirror the CEO’s role more than anybody else in the company. Because, after the CEO takes over for a couple years to get all his operations straightened out, or she, it’s all external stuff and all the employee stuff he has to deal with. And that’s the PR guy who is going to help him with that so that’s the exciting part of the future for this, because, more and more, companies cannot hide. They cannot get away. It’s all transparent. And the professional who is at the side of the CEO is going to be the professional element of that.
Interviewer: I just want to thank you very much for sharing some time with us.
Murphy: That's great. Good luck to you. Good, hope that was all right.
Interviewer: Oh that was fine.