John is one of the world’s most experienced public relations professionals with 40 years consulting to and working for some of the world’s largest companies and organisations.
Prior to establishing John Connolly & Partners in June 1992, John was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Pacific operations of the world’s largest public relations firm. He was a member of the board of directors and the five-person executive committee of the New York based worldwide firm.
Faced by severe constraints on their ability to operate because of growing community pressure and the emerging environmental movement, in the early 1990s some of the world’s largest resource companies funded him to research new approaches to rebuilding trust and credibility and to increasing organisational autonomy. Through this work he has developed a unique approach around rebuilding and restoring corporate reputation and the development of the corporate brand concept.
That has now been applied in the US, Canadian and Australian financial services sectors, with corporations rebuilding after serious financial and operational crises and with retail investors in major proxy fights.
As a result John was the only non-US citizen to be a member of an internal committee of the New York Stock Exchange advising the Exchange committee on corporate branding and implementation for 10 years. He moved from the NYSE to become a member of the global branding committee of Bristol Myers Squibb in New York. He was a founding member of the branding committee of the Australian Stock Exchange and acts as an independent expert on the subject in litigation, including recently before the Federal Court of Australia.
His work in public affairs and investor relations is recognised internationally. He was the first non-US citizen to address the National Investor Relations Institute of the United States and he has worked on some of the most difficult issues in public affairs and financial and public relations for a range of US, UK and Australian corporations.
These include advising both sides on mergers leading to the creation of two of the world's largest mining companies, the head office relocation from Australia to the US of the world's largest media group, the demergers of two of the world's largest companies, leading global communications for one of the world's largest hostile takeovers, the campaign against the introduction of a minerals resource rent tax in Australia, the acquisition of NYMEX by a US private equity group and major public affairs issues in Indonesia, New Zealand, the UK, the US and China.
He set up and led the Governing Bodies of International Tennis in London in developing their response to issues affecting the sport.
He is the only non-lawyer regularly to address the International Bar Association and has been a keynote speaker at the IBA biennial conferences in New York and Cannes. He speaks internationally on investor relations and financial markets. He was a guest speaker at the Public Relations Society of America Counsellor Academy in Palm Springs. He spoke at the first Brazilian Companies in the Global Market conference in Rio de Janeiro, he wrote and delivered the initial Securities Institute of Australia course on Corporate Strategy and its Impact on Equity Analysis which was the highest ranked component of any part of the curriculum. He has been a contributing editor to a range of publications and currently writes a weekly column for The Weekend Australian and a monthly column for The Deal magazine.
John is a director of the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Theatre Company Foundation, an International Delegate at Large for the Public Relations Society of America, a member of the national council of Australia’s largest music organisation, Musica Viva, a member of the council of leaders of the US based Issues Exchange, and was a member of the council of the International Public Relations Association.
He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a member of the American Association of Trial Consultants, a member of the American Association for Justice, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (UK), the Legal Marketing Association (US), Financial Services Institute of Australasia, the National Investor Relations Institute of the USA, the American Association of Political Consultants, the Australian Racing Drivers Club, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport and Aspen Rugby Club and on the committees of the Bondi Longboard and Byron Bay Malibu Clubs.