Peta Buscombe

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Peta Buscombe


Baroness Peta Buscombe is former chief executive of the Advertising Association (AA) and a former chair of the Press Complaints Commission (March 2009 - October 2011).

Buscombe was cited as one of the top 10 networkers in the UK by prominent marketing magazine in 2008.[1]

Praising Buscombe's political connections, Marketing magazine reports she was "hired to be a change agent who could speak to government at the highest level" and that

she has certainly fulfilled that brief. Under her stewardship, the profile of the organisation has rocketed and there is a real feeling that the AA has the ears of the people in power in a way that it did not before her arrival.[2]

As CEO of AA, Buscombe set up Business4Life (B4L), which according to its website it is 'a coalition of companies representing the food and drink, retail, media, advertising, fitness and health industries, which are partnering with Government to support its Change4Life movement.'[3]

Buscombe did not register her position as Chair of Business4Life on the House of Lord’s Interests. [4]

Buscombe's decision to leave the AA left some discrepancy over who would chair B4L. According to 'Marketing' magazine, those who know her believed she wanted to maintain her position with B4L, however the same article claimed that Buscombe and AA denied that she would continue.[5] Following email correspondence with Marisa Fitch (B4L contact on website) it was confirmed that Tim Lefroy, new CEO of AA would replace Buscombe as B4L chair on taking up his position in the beginning of May 2009.[6]


According to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) website, Peta Buscombe "trained as a barrister, she has had an extensive career in politics and the private sector. In 1998 she was made a Life Peer and has been a Conservative front bench spokesman in the House of Lords on several briefs including Trade and Industry, Social Security, Legal Affairs, Cabinet Office, Education and Skills, Home Office and Culture, Media and Sport.[7]

She resigned as PCC chair in November 2011 following criticism of its handling of the phone hacking scandal at News of the World.


With regards to the rising numbers of obese children, Buscombe is promoting industry as being part of the solution, not the problem. Her creation Business4Life “aims to prevent stronger regulation.”[8]

Previously, as spearhead of self-regulation of the advertising industry, Buscombe clashed with groups campaigning to place stricter regulations, particularly on advertising to children. One such group was watchdog Which?. In a report published in late 2008 Which? claimed that regulations introduced in Jan 2008 by Ofcom, did not stop ads for HFSS food being aired during the top 5 kids programs, with only 4 of the 20 most popular being covered. Buscombe responded, dismissing their claims as “sensationalist, unconstructive and missing the point.”[9]

Commenting on the change in attitude and relationship between government ministers and the advertising industry, Buscombe states that there is “much better ease of access to government departments and a generally warmer reception by ministers.”[10]


  1. Marketing Direct Top 10 Networkers, 1 May 2008, accessed 27 February 2009
  2. Marketing magazine The Marketing Profile: Baroness Peta Buscombe, Charles, G, 29 Jan 2008, accessed 27 February 2009
  3. Business4Life home page, Accessed December 4 2008
  4. House of Lords website Register of Lords' Interests - Baroness Buscombe, 3 April 2009, accessed 12 April 2009
  5. Marketing Magazine Peta Buscombe to hold onto role Business4Life, Charles, G. 24 February 2009, accessed 12 April 2009
  6. Email from Marissa Fitch of Business4Life, received 1 May 2009
  7. Press Complaints Commission website News & Features 14 November 2008, accessed 27 February 2009
  8. Marketing, Buscombe exits AA for press complaints role, Barrett, L, 19 November 2008, accessed 27 February 2009
  9. The Herald Children exposed to adverts for unhealthy food despite new rules, Chiesa, A, 19 September 2008, accessed 27 February
  10. Campaign Live Issue - Government boost for a brighter creative future, 26 September 2008, accessed 27 February 2009