John Harrington
Jan 02, 2024

WPP's Mark Read among industry figures receiving royal New Year's Honours

Some senior figures from the marcomms sector have been recognised in UK King Charles' New Year Honours list

Honoured (L to R): Mark Read, Jane Boardman and Tiffany Beck
Honoured (L to R): Mark Read, Jane Boardman and Tiffany Beck

WPP chief executive Mark Read becomes a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the creative industries.

Read holds one of the most prominent jobs in global marketing communications. WPP owns some of the world's biggest PR agencies, including Hill+Knowlton, BCW and FGS Global, alongside the likes of Ogilvy, VML Group and Group M. The company generated revenue of £11.8 billion in 2022.

Read has been chief executive since 2018, when he succeeded Sir Martin Sorrell. He was previously chief operating officer at the firm and earlier had stints as chief executive of WPP agencies Wunderman and WPP Digital.

Read said: "I am delighted and proud to have received this honour. The creative industries and the many thousands of amazing people who work within them – not least those at WPP – are such an important part of British life, with a huge impact on both our culture and economy. It’s wonderful to see that contribution recognised."

Jane Boardman, chief executive of PR agency M&C Saatchi Talk, becomes an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for voluntary services to fashion and beauty.

In 2008, she became an adviser to the British Fashion Council. Boardman later jointly founded the British Beauty Council, the not-for-profit group that aims to tackle prejudice about an industry Boardman has said was viewed as "fluffy and shallow".

Boardman led the PR agency Talk.Global, which focused on the fashion, beauty, luxury and lifestyle sectors, for almost 20 years until its merger in 2020 with sister agency M&C Saatchi PR to form M&C Saatchi Talk. She is current chief executive of the agency, which generated UK revenue of £5.4m in 2022, according to the PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies table.

Boardman said: "I am immensely honoured to have been awarded an OBE for my services to fashion and beauty. I feel privileged to have played a small role in elevating the work of the leaders of these incredible industries, particularly Caroline Rush, Dylan Jones and Millie Kendall. Both industries provide the UK with products and services that bring joy to so many.

"I will continue to champion the industries I love, supporting businesses that make a difference and break new boundaries in their field. I am grateful to those I have worked with on these shared endeavours and to my M&C Saatchi colleagues for encouraging me in my pro-bono work."

Richard Thompson, M&C Saatchi UK chair, said: "Jane has been an integral part of the M&C Saatchi family for more than two decades – not just through her total dedication to her work but also through the unwavering support she has given to her colleagues. We are delighted that her tireless drive to give the beauty and fashion industries the voice it deserves has been rewarded with this recognition. We are all very proud of what Jane has achieved.”

Elsewhere, Tiffany Beck, head of education at communications agency PLMR, becomes an OBE for services to education.

Beck is co-founder and chair of trustees at the Maritime Academy Trust, which has worked with more than 4,000 pupils and 700 staff across 13 schools in London, Kent and Medway since it launched in 2016. She is also a founding trustee of Independent Governors Support, which provides free support, mentoring and coaching to chairs of governors or trustees.

As head of education at PLMR, Beck supports education organisations with reputation management and crisis communications, PR, public affairs and strategic counsel.

Beck said: “I am completely blown away by this honour. This is very much thanks to the people both within Maritime Academy Trust and my dear friends and colleagues across the sector and at PLMR who have taught me so much about what makes schools so special, what makes education so powerful and why it is so important that together we are not just trying to do things better, but actually doing better things.”

PLMR managing director Ollie Lane said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Tiffany’s exceptional service to education has been honoured with an OBE. It may have started with her role in Maritime but now she brings her insight, expertise and tireless support to the education organisations we work with every single day. She is a guiding force for those organisations and all of us at PLMR could not be more pleased for our colleague, friend and integral part of our team.”

Meanwhile, José Riera, deputy director of communications at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, becomes an OBE for public service.

Receiving the same honour is Julie Grant, deputy director, news and digital, at the Scottish Government, for "services to Scotland on the demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II".

More than 1,200 people are included in the King's New Year Honours list for 2024.

(This article first appeared on PRWeek)

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