Founder & Chairman
Patrick Robertson is a British public relations consultant. He founded WorldPR in the early 1990s and has been an advisor to many British and foreign political and business leaders for nearly three decades. He currently offers strategic advice to foreign corporations and governments on, among other matters, the actual opportunities and implications of Brexit.
Patrick has developed a unique expertise in political strategy, crisis communications and reputation management, having strategised election campaigns in Britain and abroad and directed some of the most challenging international PR assignments. He correctly called the results of the 2016 UK referendum and both the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections, against strongly contradictory polling data.
Some of the assignments that Patrick has directed have made their mark in history, such as the campaign to free Senator Augusto Pinochet, win the Referendum Party’s campaign for a UK referendum on Europe, lift the EU sanctions against Austria, secure autonomy for Chechnya, achieve democratic elections in Zimbabwe or brand the newly-independent Kazakhstan by channeling Borat the movie. Other assignments have been more forensic and protracted but no less successful, including the campaign to overturn the conviction of the Libyan citizen wrongly accused of the Lockerbie bombing, expose the Russian criminal conspiracy against Bill Browder and the Hermitage Fund or secure the arrest and prosecution of Mukhtar Kabyluly Ablyazov, the world’s biggest criminal mastermind, currently under arrest in France.
Patrick’s experience of frontline political campaigns started in 1989 when, as an undergraduate at Oxford, he founded the Bruges Group, which is credited with having played an influential role in Britain’s eventual decision to leave the European Union. In recognition of the group’s remarkable success in provoking a nationwide debate, Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, became its Hon. President in 1990.
After a period based in Geneva as a Special Advisor to the World Economic Forum, where he worked with, amongst others, Dr. Henry Kissinger and Akio Morita, then President of the Sony Corporation, Patrick went into business with Gerald Howarth and Lord Parkinson, former Chairman of the Conservative Party. Patrick cut his teeth as a government adviser to senior British politicians, including Neil Hamilton, Corporate Affairs minister, and Jonathan Aitken, Chief Secretary to the Secretary. He also enjoyed, for a number of years, a successful business collaboration with Lord Tim Bell, PR adviser to successive British prime ministers.
In 1994, Sir James Goldsmith, the Anglo-French billionaire, hired WorldPR to orchestrate the campaign of the Referendum Party, the most ambitious eurosceptic campaign of modern times, with an unprecedented spend of £35 million. As the party’s chief of staff, Patrick directed its strategy for the 1997 British general election, in which it fielded 547 candidates and secured a commitment from the British government to hold a referendum before joining the single currency. Highlights of the campaign include the production of twenty-five million copies of the newspaper “Referendum Now”, delivered to every household in Britain, and six million copies of an acclaimed election video. On the eve of the election, the party held a rally of 12,000 people at Alexandra Palace, the largest of any political party since the war.
Among the early recruits of the Referendum Party who went on to achieve front-rank careers in British politics are Priti Patel, Home Secretary, and Ben Elliot, Chairman of the Conservative Party.
Having spent a career observing at close quarters the catastrophic failure of the worldwide polling industry, between 2016 and 2019 Patrick pioneered and financed the development of a proprietary software platform called Sock!t that enables small or large samples of voters to express their binary choices on any topic cost-effectively and in real-time. Sock!t, which is exclusively available to WorldPR’s clients, is a valuable tool to help address the growing challenge of flawed or contradictory datasets that all too often are resistant to meaningful analysis.
Patrick has been a player in Kazakhstan and Central Asia for nearly twenty years and, as co-founder with Paul Pheby of an investment management company, Sovereign Solutions Limited, he introduced Lord Jacob Rothschild and Tokyo-based Capital Partners Securities Co. to Kazakhstan. Sovereign Solutions was instrumental in the establishment of two Kazakhstan country funds with US$350 million under management.
In 1992, Patrick was elected Britain’s youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In the same year he published his first book of essays by distinguished scholars, Reshaping Europe in the 21st Century (Macmillan). Married, with one daughter, Patrick speaks several languages fluently and is an occasional contributor on Brexit to the Daily Telegraph.