Introducing our newest member of the team – Radioactive Group managing director Richard Leonard. With more than twenty years of experience, The New Rich joins us to support the development of current companies and lead expansion into other service offerings.
Rich co-founded integrated comms agency Brazil at the age of 26, building a client portfolio that included 118 118, Honda, Dixons Group, AXA, Swiftcover and GfK NOP before exiting eight years later.
Since exiting, he has been the head of PR for Three Mobile, and worked closely with Honda Motor Europe and Honda UK, managing major briefs across events, video, media relations, CSR and more.
Place of birth:
In a village with the best name (Marsh Gibbon) just outside Bicester, Oxfordshire.
How did you end up in PR?
I fell into it a little blind to be honest. When I realised that my boyhood dream of driving a tractor didn’t pay enough, I looked at university options. After whittling out the ones I was nowhere near clever enough to do (and those I didn’t even understand the name of), PR jumped out. I didn’t really know what it was, but it sounded fun and I didn’t have to read a book and write an essay every week. Turns out that loving a good chat, enjoying writing, and being quite versatile, it was a pretty good fit for me.
Are there any aspects of PR you’re particularly keen on?
Where it all began for me back in the day – good old fashioned story-telling. In so doing proving to the naysayers that PR does in fact drive commercial outcomes and deserves a place at the boardroom table, and that there’s still a massive role for earned media in the mix.
Struggled with this one as I don’t really watch them. At home I can’t sit down for 20 minutes (unless I’m watching cricket), and if I have two hours to spare the last thing I want to do is sit in the dark (I watch cricket). So of the few I’ve watched, I’d say Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction.
Favourite site to waste time on?
Twickets. In the eternal hunt for resell tickets for random nineties indie bands for me to see, and more contemporary artistes to take my teenage girls to see. It’s our thing. Current watchlist includes Dua Lipa, Rag N Bone Man, Stormzy and Taylor Swift.
What do you enjoy about what you do?
Ultimately there’s nothing like the buzz of it all coming together for the team after a long hard slog, and the chance to flex my brain in different ways every day is exciting.
Thinking about my 23 years in the game as a whole, it’s the eclectic mix of work I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. At one end I’ve written numerous keynote speeches for global CEOs, directed appearances at ten international motor shows, and been front line facing down the broadcast trucks in the rain in far too many delicate corporate situations to remember. At the other end, two Guinness World Records for the world’s fastest lawn mower (134mph), racing power boats, driving a lawn mower down the Thames path on This Morning, and getting the 118 guys on to Question of Sport and BBC coverage of Wimbledon. I also flipped a quad bike spectacularly in front of the UK’s leading farming media once, breaking my wrist and ribs and rupturing my knee ligaments in the process. I was quite concussed and apparently kept asking for a biscuit when I came round. I took the rest of the afternoon off that day.
Tell us three interesting facts about you:
- I worked in automotive PR for 15 years, and although I know far too much about them, I’m not hugely fussed about cars on a personal level. I was born and raised a farmers boy, so I’m more into tractors, trucks and anything else big, noisy and smelly. Currently saving up for a 68 Fordson Major.
- I’m a clean freak and a claustrophobe, so while Covid has been horrible for us all on so many fronts, and I’d never make light of it, I’ve loved reclaiming my personal space and not having to shake hands of unknown cleanliness. When we go back to precedented times can we carry on washing our hands religiously and not rubbing up against each other in the freezer section please people?!
- When I was 17 I interviewed to read Theology at Oxford. I then soon realised that public relations was my true calling in life, rather than the cloth…
If I can have three: John Deere, Haribo and the ECB – there’s my what3words of life: ///tractors.sweets.cricket
Describe yourself in a few sentences:
Never happier than when outside getting my hands dirty, taking in the fresh air and growing, mowing, chopping or burning things. I spend too much time waiting outside Primark for my 17 and 14 year old daughters, who are more often than not armed with my debit card. Professionally I’m as much a doer as a thinker or teller…we’re going into battle, and I’m doing my own stapling (David Brent).
Where can we find you online?
LinkedIn is my channel of choice (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rjleonardox15/).
I also make regular guest appearances on my youngest’s TikToks. Status ‘icon’, apparently.