Rowland Executive Director takes over Managing Director role

by Geoff Rodgers, Chairman

Published on
July 13, 2021

Rowland Executive Director, Alasdair Jeffrey, has recently been appointed Managing Director of the strategic communication agency, following the stepping down of Helen Besly from the role, just shy of 20 years at the helm.

Alasdair is one of Australia’s most well-respected and seasoned financial communication and investor relations specialists, while Helen’s 42-year professional career firmly places her among the industry’s best.

Rowland Chairman, Geoff Rodgers, said he was thrilled to see his long-term business partners take their respective next steps in their careers, playing leading roles in the agency alongside its well-established executive leadership team.

“With 30 years under his professional belt, I congratulate Alasdair on his appointment and look forward to working closely with him as we continue to help clients build sustainable organisational, corporate and commercial value,” he said.

“This transition, which has been 12 months in the making, marks a significant event in Rowland’s 30-year history and marks key professional milestones in both Alasdair’s and Helen’s careers.”
Alasdair first joined Rowland in 1994, before taking his career to London’s pre-eminent financial and corporate communication firm Brunswick, and then moving in-house as Executive Vice President Investor Relations at Marconi plc.

Having completed a MBA at London Business School, Alasdair returned to Australia and re-joined Rowland in 2003, before becoming a shareholder in 2007. He has since led the agency’s corporate and public affairs groups, and has played a significant role in leading its business growth strategy.

As Rowland’s third shareholder, Helen remains a key part of the Rowland fabric, working part-time in a strategic advisory capacity and market-facing business development role.

“I congratulate and thank Helen on her incredible contribution to the firm in her role as Managing Director, where she has been instrumental in leading and shaping Rowland into what it is today — one of the most prominent and most awarded consultancies in Australia,” Geoff said.

Having first joined leading public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in 1980, Helen relocated to its Hong Kong office in 1988 as Vice President and Group Manager, and was later appointed Deputy Managing Director in 1991.

Helen returned to Australia and joined Rowland in 1996, becoming a shareholder and Managing Director in 2002.

During her leadership and 25-year career at Rowland, Helen has served as Queensland Chapter Chair at Chief Executive Women, Trustee for the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust, Deputy Chair on the Queensland Ballet Board, and Board Member with Queensland Community Foundation and Brisbane Economic Development Agency. She was also awarded a Telstra Business Women’s Award in 2001.

The senior management changes came into effect on 1 July 2021, and coincide with a significant period of growth for Rowland with the appointment of 10 new staff members in the last three months and the announcement of its recent move into the Sydney market.

Rowland is one of Australia’s leading strategic communication and advisory firms, providing independent corporate communication, digital, creative and training services for the past 30 years.