Oral Histories

Harold Burson

Interview Segments on Topic: Code of Ethics/Mission Statement/Credo

Harold Burson Biography

Harold Burson, described by PR Week as “the century’s most influential PR figure,” began his professional career as a stringer for a daily newspaper, eventually entering the military to become a public information officer for the American Forces Network during World War II.  Burson opened his first PR agency following the War, which developed into Burson-Marsteller in 1953 by joining with Chicago advertising executive Bill Marsteller who needed public relations expertise for his clients.  Their relationship resulted in a unique enterprise with advertising and public relations operating as equals for the good of their clients.  Currently, Burson-Marsteller provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, advertising, and web-related services.


Interviewer: Is it important therefore for a corporation to have an ethical mission statement or credo to help guide t hem in their decision making process?

Burson: I think symbolically it is. It’s something to fall back on. And it also is a guideline for corporations to give to employees so employees really have an idea of what the company’s mission is what its expectations of behavior are so yes I would strongly subscribe to a mission statement or a credo.