Success Stories

PRCA - Recruitment of a CEO

About PRCA

The PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association) approached TPP to support them with the search for a CEO. This was a high-profile role which would be keenly anticipated by the PRCA’s members and wider communications industry. TPP ran a comprehensive, targeted search campaign and successfully appointed a CEO.

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Challenges in recruiting for a CEO

The PRCA is a leading member-led association representing the UK’s communication and PR industry at home and abroad.  Acting as a regulation body, the PRCA sets and policies standards expected of members as set out in its Code of Conduct and Communication Management Standards. The PRCA also supports its members through the management of member-led special interest groups, providing professional development focussed on core capabilities as well as new and emerging skills, schemes for diverse and young people to enter the industry, lobbying change and managing a series of UK and international award schemes to promote and celebrate practitioner excellent.

A critical hire for PRCA, who had recently been through a governance-structure review to modernise putting in place best practise, to be more robust, accountable and to enable a platform for growth. They had also been without a CEO for a few months. The new CEO would be required to implement the new policies but also manage the team through the transition and the organisation through cultural change.   

This was a two-pronged search – TPP were tasked to search for either a senior leader from the communication or associated industries, or a membership organisation who had been through large change and driven membership growth. They needed effective leadership skills, to be a strategic thinker, and a horizon scanner who was politically astute. Importantly they were to be the spokesperson for the membership and industry alongside the President and other Board’s Chairs and needed to lead the engagement with government, political and social institutions in the UK and internationally.

Services Delivered

  • Having been appointed, TPP Search Consultants met with the Change Consultant and the MD to learn about the organisation and its challenges to gain a deeper understanding of the long-term strategy and ideal candidate persona.

  • Asked to advise around an inclusive application process, TPP recommended that candidates answered 3 standardised questions that pulled out key skills, experience, and interest in role. To aid with this, TPP assisted with the drafting of these questions. 

  • The mix of targeted search and marketing provided 400 enquires, with 132 written expressions of interest and 40 formal applications. 10 of which were shortlisted against key criteria and submitted.  5 were through a highly targeted search to passive candidates. 

  • All applications were subsequently redacted for submission in line with PRCA’s ED&I policy.  

  • The PRCA also received direct applications and TPP provided a response to unsuccessful applicants for PRCA to use.


Results Achieved

The PRCA were delighted with all the applications received.

  • 3 candidates (out of a total of 6 - including 3 direct applications) were selected for the panel interview.
  • 2 candidates were taken through to 2nd stage (out of a total of 3 including one direct application).
  • 1 candidate was taken through to 3rd final stage (alongside one direct application).
  • TPP coordinated interviews between the candidates and the panel.  
  • TPP guided them through the interview process outlining potential competency questions and were on hand to support the candidate with any questions.  

The person who was offered and accepted was a CEO for a leading association in the publishing industry, they also had an extensive background in a variety of senior media industry roles. They demonstrated an ability to lead an organisation through cultural change, governance transition, modernisation as well as displaying a wider knowledge and advocacy of the challenges facing the communications industry. They had a proven background engaging members in a changing environment and demonstrating membership value led propositions and growth.   

TPP supported candidate and client with the offer.  

The person offered was not actively looking when identified and approached from TPP’s search.  


“Hewes was appointed after a rigorous, four-stage process that included best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion, with measures to minimise unconscious bias and increase accessibility. Separate panels of PRCA Board representatives reviewed CVs and conducted three rounds of interviews. There were many excellent candidates to lead PRCA through its next chapter, but James was the unanimous choice of our final selection panel. We were impressed by his strategic thinking and operational experience in trade association and media industry roles.”

PRCA Chair Ray Eglington

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