Rudd calls executives to fight for AV

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The Independent Online

Roland Rudd, the City's best-known PR adviser, is forming a powerful campaign group of top chairman and leading industrialists to lobby for a Yes result in May's referendum on electoral reform.

Mr Rudd, the founder of Finsbury PR agency, is in talks with a number of the UK's most senior businessmen about whether they would join him to create a lobby group for the AV referendum set for 5 May.

Once Mr Rudd has gauged how much interest there is among senior businessmen, he then plans a Yes group to raise a fighting fund. One source said: "Many top business people are extremely interested in the outcome of this referendum. Just as they are committed to corporate governance, so they are interested in the legitimacy of the country's governance. Many of them believe that AV will produce a fairer electoral system and AV crosses political divides."

Mr Rudd has many contacts, including Lord Mandelson, Nat Rothschild and Centrica's chairman, Sir Roger Carr. He was also the founding chairman of Business for New Europe, working with Lord Browne, the ex-BP boss, Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman of RBS, Lord Marshall, the chairman of Nomura, Compass's Richard Cousins, as well as Chris Gibson-Smith, the chairman of the London Stock Exchange.