John Graham joined FleishmanHillard in 1966. He was elected vice president, director, and senior partner in 1970; was elected president and chief executive officer in 1974; and was named chairman in 1988. During this period, the firm grew from a single office to more than 80 around the world, making it one of the largest agencies in the world today. During his career, he has personally worked in nearly all aspects of public relations, including public affairs, financial strategy, corporate strategy, investor relations, crisis situations, employee relations, strategic media placement, opinion research and issues management. He is widely regarded as one of the top crisis communications professionals in the industry and personally counsels CEOs of many Fortune Top 100 companies.
In terms of awards and tributes, Graham is legendary in the communications industry. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the Public Relations Society of America, named a Public Relations All Star for agency management by Inside PR magazine and selected as PR Professional of the Year by the readers of PR News. He became only the third agency PR executive to be inducted into the Arthur W. Page Society Hall of Fame. He received the Thomas Mosser Award from St. Bonaventure University for contributions to the public relations profession and was named PR Professional of the Year by PRWeek. The University of Missouri-Columbia awarded him the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. He received PRSA’s Gold Anvil award for his many contributions to the public relations industry and the International Communications Consultancy Organization (ICCO) named him to its International Hall of Fame. He has received The Holmes Report’s SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Public Relations and the President’s Award from the International Public Relations Association. Graham was the recipient of The Public Relations Society of America Foundation first Palladin award for lifetime achievement.