Press Releases

Reputation & Relationships: The new decade for organisations – University of Reading

Release Date : 16 October 2009

The current lack of faith in public institutions and private organisations could have been prevented according to The Right Honourable Michael Portillo.

The former Secretary of State for Defence spoke this week on the implications of current and past events for organisations' reputation and relationships, at a conference at the Henley Business School (HBS).

During his speech Mr Portillo commented:

"There is currently a very low level of trust in public institutions and private organisations, particularly following the recent expenses scandal and the financial crisis. These crises could have been avoided if more emphasis had been placed on personal responsibility in the life of organisations.

"It is often the case that when people become socialised into organisations they begin to relinquish responsibility to the group and start to view things more narrowly from the organisation's point of view. As a result, whereas people usually apply an inherent sense of fairness to their own experience and, indeed, in how they judge organisations as stakeholders, the same standards have not always been applied in the management of organisations."

Mr Portillo was just one of the influential speakers from the business and politics arena who presented at the conference. The event highlighted key issues organisations are facing when it comes to managing reputation and relationships.

Organised by the HBS's John Madejski Centre for Reputation, in association with PR Week, over 70 figures from the business world and public sector, heard talks on subjects including the legacy of corporate and financial scandals, key social and business trends, changing societal values and expectations and the evolving sustainability agenda.

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of British Airways, also spoke. He explained the company's One Destination strategy on responsible air travel, giving the audience a fascinating insight into how the company's strategy towards its customers, its people, its suppliers, the community and the environment, meets stakeholders' expectations for a major airline company.

Dr Kevin Money, Director of the John Madejski Centre for Reputation, added:

"We were delighted to welcome such respected figures to the conference and the day was a resounding success. Speakers and delegates were engaged in a lively debate on the choices involved in building and maintaining reputation for sustainable long term growth in organisations. The aim of the Centre is to promote research and learning in corporate reputation and this conference is just one of the many events that we hold to help organisations in this area."


For all media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel. 0118 378 7115 or email

The John Madejski Centre for Reputation, founded by Professor Keith MacMillan, is a dedicated research centre based in the Henley Business School at the University of Reading, one of Europe's leading business schools.

The Centre is named after Sir John Madejski OBE DL. Among his many responsibilities Sir John is Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Chairman of Reading Football Club and Chancellor of the University of Reading.

List of speakers

The Right Honourable Michael Portillo

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive, British Airways

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade

Foundation in the UK

Keith Schilling, Senior Partner and Co-Founder of


Lucy Carver, Director of The Bigger Picture, BSkyB

Robin Campbell, Strategic Communications

Advisor and Head of Media Relations at

Westminster City Council

Nic Marks, Founder, Centre for Well-Being, new

economics foundation


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