|Alma mater||Keble College (Oxford)|
|Founder of||Bruges Group|
CEO of public relations firm WorldPR
Patrick Robertson is the CEO of public relations firm WorldPR which has acted as strategic communications adviser to corporate and government leaders for over twenty years.
Patrick Robertson was born in Scotland, and brought up in Italy, France and England. He read history at Keble College (Oxford). In 1989, while still a student at Oxford, he founded the Bruges Group, the all-party forum for debate on the future of Britain and the European Union. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher became Hon. President of the Group in 1990.
Subsequently, Robertson was appointed Special Adviser to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, where he worked with, amongst others, Dr Henry Kissinger and Akio Morita, then President of the Sony.
Public relations business
Patrick Robertson founded his first public relations business in 1992 with Gerald Howarth, the former UK Defence Minister, and Lord Parkinson, former Chairman of the Conservative Party. During this time the agency advised various UK government ministers, including the Minister of Corporate Affairs and the Chief Secretary of HM Treasury. One of his earliest clients was Sir James Goldsmith, the Anglo-French financier. He was responsible for the launch of Goldsmith's international bestseller, "The Trap".
Patrick Robertson subsequently orchestrated the £35 million Referendum Party campaign in the 1997 British General Election, in which the political party led and financed by Sir James Goldsmith fielded more than 600 candidates and successfully secured a commitment from the British government to hold a referendum on Europe. The referendum question which the party proposed was announced on 28 November 1996:
- "Do you want the United Kingdom to be part of a federal Europe or do you want the United Kingdom to return to an association of sovereign nations that are part of a common trading market?"
The Referendum Party were represented by a single MP in the House of Commons for two weeks before the dissolution in March 1997. George Gardiner, the Conservative MP for Reigate, changed parties in March 1997 following deselection by his local party. Gardiner campaigned for re-election in Reigate, but was not successful, losing to the new Conservative candidate. Referendum Party candidate John Bufton later became a Member of the European Parliament for Wales for the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party. Goldsmith vowed that the party would continue, but his death in July 1997 deprived it of its best-known figure and the money he offered. The party ceased to exist not long afterwards.
Undermining Megrahi's Lockerbie appeal
- Professor Alan Dershowitz, a leading American civil rights lawyer and one of the main legal brains behind the appeal, has admitted technical specialists and lawyers gathering vital evidence for the case have yet to be paid by the Libyans. He said:
- "I’ve been a consultant to the law firm and (I know) some people have not been paid. Some of the experts have not been paid as well. Some of the people that have been retained to do some of the scientific research on the case have not been paid."
- Professor Dershowitz’s comments came after David Wynn Morgan and Patrick Robertson, the London-based PR experts brought in to publicise the appeal, resigned from their posts over financial disputes.
- Mr Robertson has served a writ on Stephen Mitchell, the representative for Needleman Treon, Megrahi’s London-based solicitors, for almost £30,000. Last night, Mr Robertson, who has represented former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, confirmed he had served a writ on Mr Mitchell. He said:
- "I was forced to resign from the committee because I was not paid the agreed sum in my contract to assist the team. I was brought in to inform the media on the case, set up a website on the appeal and organise a seminar for the committee and I had agreed a sum to carry out these functions. Unfortunately I have been forced to issue a writ to retrieve the money owed to me, that is now public knowledge and it is a position I would rather not be in."
- It has also emerged that Mr Wynn Morgan resigned from the appeal committee by sending an e-mail to his colleagues, stating he was no longer in a position to carry out his duties. The disagreement is said to have come to a head after a five-figure cheque paid to Mr Wynn Morgan’s PR firm was allegedly stopped by representatives acting for the Libyans. A source close to Mr Wynn Morgan said:
- "David did resign from the appeal committee and it is fair to suggest there was a financial disagreement but we are in a tricky position at the moment. All we can say is this ‘disagreement’ has since been resolved and we hope to contribute more to the team in the future, but it was the basis for our withdrawal from the appeal team."
- An appeal team insider suggested the timing for the dispute could not be worse and the growing financial cloud hanging over the committee could undermine the Libyan’s case. He said:
- "There is a growing unease in the team and many of the lawyers and specialists who have contributed to the appeal feel they have been used by the Libyans."
- Megrahi’s appeal is being financed and co-ordinated by a consortium of Libyan lawyers headed by Tripoli-based academic Dr Ibrahim Legwell. In a bid to bolster the appeal case, the Libyan lawyers raised funds to recruit the services of some of the world’s leading legal minds and PR men.
In the decade that followed, Patrick Robertson established WorldPR, a public relations business focused on the international corporate and political arena. He has been interested in Kazakhstan and Central Asia since 2003. He is the co-founder of an investment management company, Sovereign Solutions Limited, which among other projects introduced Lord Rothschild and Tokyo-based Capital Partners Securities to Kazakhstan. Sovereign was instrumental in the establishment of two Kazakhstan country funds with US$350 million under management. In 2010 Robertson founded Mongolia’s first public relations agency, WorldPR Mongolia.
Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in 1992, Robertson published his first book, "Reshaping Europe in the 21st Century" (Macmillan), in the same year. The blurb reads:
- In September 1988, Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, delivered a speech in the Belgian town of Bruges. It opened a great debate on the future of Europe. For the first time in post-war European history a British politician proposed widening the ideal of European political union, to throw European countries on the side of international free trade, willing co-operation between nations and individual liberty. The Bruges Group, formed in February 1989, is concerned to argue for these broader objectives within the debate on the future of Europe. All the papers in this volume are written from that viewpoint.