Rich List evacuee causes media frenzy


Paul writes...

Sometimes a story really captures the imagination of the media and creates a mini frenzy of activity across the whole range of print and broadcast outlets. Such was the case when John Elliott, founder of Recognition's client, Ebac, announced he was "giving away" his fortune.

When it came to deciding how he wanted to pass on the business, John - TV's first Secret Millionaire and a member of the illustrious Rich list - shirked convention. He would not sell the business (that meant there would be a chance manufacturing could be taken abroad, taking jobs from the area) and it would not be passed down through the family, despite their involvement in the company.

Instead, a Foundation would be launched, preserving jobs and manufacturing in County Durham and ensuring profits would be ploughed back into future growth. There would be no shareholders to take money out of the business.

This mix of a Rich List evacuee and an inheritance bypassed was media gold. The days prior to the official launch of the Ebac Foundation, interviews started, with The Northern Echo preparing a front page splash and BBC Tees pre-recording for their mid-morning show. The morning itself started early, with live interviews on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, Radio 4's Today programme, as well as BBC Tees' breakfast show.

Then it was back to Ebac for an event, featuring Lord Digby Jones, which attracted further coverage on BBC Look North, Tyne Tees TV and BBC News Channel, as well as interviews with The Daily Mirror and The Journal. Media interest continued through to the following weekend, when MD Pamela Petty - John's daughter - travelled to BBC Television Centre in London to take part in 5 Live's On The Money and BBC News Channel's Show Me The Money.

John's act of selflessness has, with justification, attracted a lot of attention, as the media continue to ask the question of "why" he has taken this step.

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