John D. Graham is chairman of Fleishman-Hillard Inc., one of the world’s leading strategic
Mr. Graham joined Fleishman-Hillard in 1966. He was elected vice president, director, and senior partner in 1970; was elected president and chief executive officer in 1974; and was named chairman in 1988. In 2006, he announced a restructuring of the firm’s senior management team. At that time, he relinquished the title of chief executive officer, but retained the role of chairman. The company’s revenues, less than $1 million when Mr. Graham became CEO, are now the largest in the industry. During this period, the firm grew from a single office in St. Louis to more than 80 around the world. During his more than 30 years at the agency’s helm, Fleishman-Hillard has built a strong reputation by using strategic communications to deliver what its clients value most: meaningful, positive, and measurable impact on the performance of their organizations.
Under his leadership, Fleishman-Hillard was recognized by the Thomas L. Harris/Impulse Research Survey of Corporate Communications Executives as No. 1 in quality service to clients for 12 consecutive years among major full-service firms. In 2006, the firm was named “International Agency of the Year” by The Holmes Report, which also has rated Fleishman-Hillard the “Best Big Agency to Work For” five out of the past six years. Over the past quarter-century, the firm has won 103 prestigious PRSA Silver Anvil Awards – a record of excellence no other agency can match.
During his career, Mr. Graham has personally worked in nearly all aspects of public relations, including public affairs, financial strategy, corporate strategy, investor relations, crisis situations, employee relations, strategic media placement, opinion research, issues management, and general counseling. Although responsible for the overall operations of Fleishman‑Hillard, he remains active in planning and implementing communications programs for a number of the group’s largest clients. He has personally counseled CEOs of many Fortune Top 100 companies.
He was elected to the College of Fellows of the Public Relations Society of America and was named a Public Relations All-Star for agency management by Inside PR magazine in 1990. In 1994, he was selected as PR Professional of the Year by the readers of PR News. In 2000, Mr. Graham became only the third agency PR executive to be inducted into the Arthur W. Page Society Hall of Fame. He received the Thomas Mosser Award from St. Bonaventure University for contributions to the public relations profession in 2000. In 2001, he was named PR Professional of the Year by PRWeek, andin 2002, the University of Missouri-Columbia awarded him the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. In 2003, John received PRSA’s Gold Anvil award for his many contributions to the public relations industry. In 2005, the International Communications Consultancy Organization (ICCO) named John to its International Hall of Fame. In 2008, John received The Holmes Report’sSABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Public Relations, and the same year received the President’s Award from the International Public Relations Association. In 2009 John received PRSA’s first annual Paladin Award.
Mr. Graham has authored many articles on public relations and is a frequent speaker to industry groups. He is a founder and a past Chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms, and is a member of various public relations organizations, including the Public Relations Seminar, Arthur W. Page Society, the Public Relations Society of America, and the International Public Relations Association.
He attended the University of Missouri on both an athletic and a curator’s scholarship and graduated from the School of Journalism.