Philip Dewhurst

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Philip Dewhurst

Philip Dewhurst is a well-known heavyweight lobbyist, currently senior partner at College Group, which he joined in October 2009 after three years as head of public relations at Gazprom. [1]


Dewhurst was British Nuclear Fuels's Group Corporate Affairs Director from April 2001 and Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association for two years (Dec 2004 until Dec 2006), and a board member for three years.

Ex-President of the Institute of Public Relations. He is a Visiting Fellow of the Media School of Bournemouth University. Before joining BNFL, Philip was UK Chief Executive of Shandwick International.[2]

He has also been chairman of Dewhurst Consulting since 2009. [3]

Spinning nuclear

Dewhurst has repeatedly expressed his belief that the nuclear "industry has to do more to spell out the benefits of nuclear". In 2005 he said the main ways to positively spin the case for nuclear are the "security of supply, avoiding CO2 emissions and therefore helping in the fight against global warming while supplying safe and reliable energy".[4]

Following the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in 2011, Dewhurst argued that' the nuclear industry must engage in sustained and proactive communication to allay concerns and promote its advantages'. He wrote,

There’s a clever Economist advertising campaign running on the London Underground. It promotes debate by passionate advocacy of the pro and anti case on controversial issues such as immigration and drugs. Such extreme polarisation of views is evident in perceptions of today’s energy industry where, more than ever before, excellence in communication will be needed if the world’s rapidly rising demand for clean energy is to be met.
The nuclear industry has done a great communications job in getting its messages across to decision makers over the last decade or so. But in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and in the midst of a global recession, I believe that the industry has to be more proactive in stating its case in the years ahead. [5]

Spreading the message via third parties

Interviewed by PR Week in February 2006, Dewhurst, admitted that BNFL had been using the classic PR technique of using a third party to push the nuclear message. He said that it had taken considerable effort to persuade the public to reconsider the nuclear option. Said Dewhurst: "...five years ago the reputation of nuclear was at an all-time low. MI5 said a terrorist attack on Sellafield with a hijacked aircraft 'could not be prevented', and that destroyed public confidence."

Dewhurst added: "Now we use a company called Strategic Awareness, which uses in-depth research to help us develop our message. We spread that via third-party opinion because the public would be suspicious if we started ramming pro-nuclear messages down their throats".[6]



  1. Alec Mattinson, Russian firm Gazprom's Philip Dewhurst takes College Hill role,, Friday, 23 October 2009, acc 25 June 2012
  2. Nuclear Industry Association, website
  3. Philip Dewhurst, LinkedIn profile
  4. Financial Times, Ask the Expert: Nuclear Energy, October 24, 2005.
  5. Nuclear Setbacks Demand Stronger Communication, College Group website, undated 'two years ago', acc 30 October 2013
  6. Alex Black, "Issues Management: How Nuclear Power got its Groove Back", PR Week, March 2, 2006.