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January 3, 2018

Roland Rudd

By Rasika Sittamparam

Roland Rudd enjoyed luminary status as a journalist before becoming a PR giant: working alongside Robert Peston at the Financial Times, he was known as ‘The Rat’ (after Roland the Rat). His departure in 1994 to set up RLM Finsbury with Rupert Younger was the first of a series of savvy moves: the company was bought by Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group in 2001, bagging Rudd an estimated £40 million. In 2011, RLM Finsbury merged with New York firm Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, with Rudd continuing as chairman. Rebranding as Finsbury in 2014, the firm now counts well over a quarter of the FTSE 100 as clients. ‘I could see a gap for a financial PR company which was utterly professional,’ Rudd told the Independent in 2011. ‘I hired only the most financially literate staff and was determined to have the top FTSE clients.’ This ambition has driven him since childhood, when he wanted to be prime minister. He tried three times before becoming president of the Oxford Union. It’s this tenacity – plus his realisation that networks and contacts would be critical to building a business when the industry was still in its infancy – to which he owes his success, and one of London’s most enviable little black books.

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