2008 Publicity Club of Chicago Lifetime Achievement Honoree:
Congratulations to this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Harold Burson.
Harold Burson, in a survey conducted by PRWeek, was described as “the century’s most influential PR figure.” PRWeek’s summary of his career recapitulates his role as public relations’ preeminent practitioner:
“The architect of the largest public relations agency in the world today, Burson-Marsteller chairman Harold Burson’s contribution is immense in many other ways besides. He started practicing the concept of integrated marketing decades before the term was even invented. He brought PR into the advertising business at Young & Rubicam as an equal (it’s arguably never been achieved again). His development of training programs set the benchmark that other agencies have only recently caught up with. He has personally sponsored and supported programs, industry bodies, universities and charities to improve the profession. His mentoring of talent has spawned a whole wave of ex-Burson PR agency start-ups. He created a unique Burson culture that still unites former employees. And last but certainly not least, his personal counsel has enlightened the thinking of boardrooms at many Fortune 100 companies and across the globe.”
He was CEO of Burson Marsteller for 35 years. It became the world’s largest public relations firm in 1983.
Boston University honored him with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree (hon.) in 1988 and a Chair in Public Relations was established in his name at Boston University in 2002. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and was elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame in 1986. He is a veteran of World War II with service as a combat engineer in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. As an Army news correspondent for American Forces Network, he covered the Nuremberg Trial of leading Nazi war criminals.