A Tribute to Barry Leggetter

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As a founding fellow and ex-chairman of AMEC I’d like to offer my own tribute to Barry Leggetter, or ‘Saint Barry’ as I’m sure he’ll become to future generations of PR people once he pops his clogs and is beatified!

I’ve known Barry for more than 30 years as he was my boss at the old Countrywide Communications, now Porter Novelli, way back in the 1980s.  I loved working with him.  He was a great professional and wonderful mentor who always had time to listen despite his frenetic approach to work.

When I was a member of the AMEC board and we were looking for a CEO I remember hearing that Barry was interested in the role.  As far as I was concerned the other applicants could have been told there and then the job was taken; and of course that’s exactly how it turned it out.  Frankly, the others never stood a chance.

The work Barry’s done to take AMEC to where it is now has been phenomenal.  I joined AMEC in the very earliest days when the entire membership could be counted on one hand and board meetings consisted of four of us eating sandwiches in Nick Grant’s London office.  The others there would be Fergus Hampton, myself and Sandra MacLeod, who always had to have her own special sandwiches, of course!  It’s amazing to look at Barcelona now, with a conference room packed with people from all over the world and to think that’s how this started.

I have to say that Barry and I don’t always see eye-to-eye.  In fact, we disagree on some key points that affect AMEC and the industry right now.  We’ve even had the odd spat in the media.  But that doesn’t matter – it’s what working in this industry is all about.  What really matters is that I still feel I could pick up the phone at any time to call Barry and after a bit of banter we’d be having a laugh with each other.

So, Barry, are you seriously going to retire?  Could Patricia put up with you on that basis?  I doubt it very much.  I think you’ll still be around for me to irritate for a long time to come.  At any rate, I very much hope so.

Thank you for everything, very dear friend!

Mark Westaby


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