• Robyn de Villiers Wins Industry Leader of the Year Award

 Johannesburg, 24 November 2017 – Burson-Marsteller Africa, a leading strategic communications and public relations firm, won the African Impact Award at the Financial Mail AdFocus Awards held last night in Johannesburg. The Chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller Africa, Robyn de Villers, won the Industry Leader of the Year Award.

Burson-Marsteller Africa was named the AdFocus African Network of the Year in the last two years of the Award. This year, AdFocus changed the entry criteria of the Award which previously favoured size and reach, to a focus on impact which required agencies to prove efficacy.

“We are very proud to receive the Financial Mail AdFocus African Impact Award; it shows that the great work we are doing on the continent with our partners in Africa is being recognised as having a real impact,” said de Villiers. “Partnership has always underpinned our network and continues to as we develop long-term relationships across the continent in a structured way. Today our network spans 53 countries, 36 served by Burson-Marsteller branded partners. We assist our African partners to grow their businesses through business referrals and joint new business initiatives, access to the expertise and experience of our global network and through skills transfer.”

Commenting on Robyn’s Industry Leader of the Year Award, Ramiro Prudencio, CEO of Burson-Marsteller EMEA, says: “Robyn is an absolutely wonderful choice to receive this award.  For over 30 years, she has been a champion for economic development and integration across Africa, as well as the values of respect, communication, engagement and transparency that underpin sustainable and successful organisations. We are extremely proud of Robyn and our colleagues at Burson-Marsteller Africa, and grateful for their achievement of making our public relations and strategic communications agency Africa’s largest and strongest.”

De Villiers is passionate about advancing the communications skills of the African communications profession and her name has become synonymous with skills transfer and industry transformation.

In May 2016, her visionary leadership in building the biggest public relations and communications network across Africa was recognised by the prestigious Holmes Report when she was awarded a SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement at the EMEA SABRE Awards in Berlin. She is the first and only African to have earned this accolade.

A year later, in May 2017, de Villiers presented the 2017 Maggie Nally Memorial Lecture in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster, on the invitation of Lord McNally and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations International. She was invited to share insights on the challenges and opportunities Africa presents for the communications industry – based on her nearly 30 years of experience in the sector across the continent.

About Burson-Marsteller Africa

Burson-Marsteller Africa is the pre-eminent African public relations network. Through its network of partners in 53 of the 55 African countries – 36 of them branded Burson-Marsteller – it offers an unequalled footprint and a tailored for Africa approach tested over 20+ years that combines local agency insight and connectivity with seamless project delivery driven out of South Africa. Burson-Marsteller Africa is the only network to have been a finalist in all eight years of The Holmes Report African Consultancy of the Year Award and includes four winners in its ranks. Burson-Marsteller Africa also received the Financial Mail AdFocus 2015 African Network of the Year Award and won the Gold Award for the 2016 African Network of the Year at the South African PRISM Awards. The network’s founder, Robyn de Villiers, was awarded a SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in 2016 for her contribution to the Public Relations industry across Africa.  She is the first African to be recognised with one of these awards.  For more information, please visit bm-africa.com.

 About Burson-Marsteller

Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies. The firm’s seamless worldwide network consists of 77 offices and 85 affiliate offices, together operating in 110 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Group, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world’s leading communications services network. For more information, please visit www.burson-marsteller.com.

Media contacts

Fezile Africa
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