Oral Histories

Jim Murphy

Interview Segments on Topic: Characteristics/Qualities of PR Professionals

Jim Murphy Biography

James Murphy is the chairman and CEO of Murphy & Co.

Murphy was the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Accenture and current Chairman and CEO of Murphy and Company, a management consulting firm specializing in corporate marketing and communications.  Mr. Murphy successfully let the effort to rebrand and reposition Accenture in 2000 - 2001 which won widespread recognition for the company.

Mr. Murphy also chairs the PR Coalition, which focuses on issues of interest to all communications professionals and has been recognized for his expertise in government and investor relations, editorial and media activities, corporate advertising, crisis communications, marketing communications and philanthropy, plus many others professional skills.


Interviewer: Can you sit there and tell me what you think might be the characteristics or qualities of the person who could?

Murphy: Well, I mean, unfortunately I handle much of that for not the sales piece but most everything else at Accenture. And what permitted me to do that was a broad background in all sorts of industries, all sorts of activities. Fortunate enough to get assignments across all the communications of marketing disciplines but you sort of need that. But at the end of the day, if you don’t understand the industry and the business you are in, you can’t even come to the table. And if one piece of advice to young people you’ve got to know your business you are in because you will not be credible beyond writing press releases if you are not. So it’s hard. Now what’s the background of people with typical. I think you go back to what I said before today, you need the MBA. You need the business background. You need communication skills. And then you try to get as broad an experience base as you can and whatever company you are in you got to know it well.

Interviewer: Okay, well we’re looking at wrapping things up right now. I just want to ask you, in your life or come back in your career maybe not even in your career, which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

Murphy: Well it’d be hard not to nod to the Accenture launch because we created a new company and it’s a phenomenal study. But I was involved for many years particularly at Burson and in all the companies, I managed a lot of crises and whether it was the Perrier recall, you remember that years ago or whether it was the Solomon Brothers bond crisis or whether it was some fire chief burning tub showers for Owens Corning by pouring kerosene on it and lighting the kerosene to show they were flammable. I mean these were things, which were very exciting in the moment, because you got to act within seconds of things. You go on an airplane. You have no time to think about it. And you have to go on your instincts. And they are some of the most exciting times I think in my public relations career. But, and the life of an organization can rest on your decisions. Now, we happen to work with Warren Buffet, but at the Solomon Brothers thing but we were sort of just executing because he’s brilliant, but a number of the crises we worked, we were actually making decisions that were business decisions. And you can sink or swim with the business by what you do in the public relations field. So that’s very exciting. I think the most important, the most exciting thing I’ve ever done though was having my son join me in my business. And Murphy & Company is run by my son and myself and that’s been so gratifying, I can’t describe it. So.

Interviewer: It must be wonderful to work with your son.

Murphy: It is, it is. I don’t know how he puts up with me but it’s great. That’s right. That’s exactly right so.