My Mentor: David Yelland on Rupert Murdoch

'It's more than a boss-employee relationship. It's more trusting than that'
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The Independent Online

Kelvin MacKenzie hired me as The Sun's business editor in 1992, and one day I was invited by Rupert Murdoch to dinner with Piers Morgan and Stuart Higgins. It was great for me because business dominated the conversation, and I was really the only business journalist there. It was one of those life-changing moments. Once you get the confidence to speak to Rupert Murdoch, it's difficult to be intimidated by anybody.

The next year I got sent to the States. Then News Corp reacquired the New York Post, and as its new editor I really got to know Murdoch. Some quite important things happened. I decided, after about 20 years of wearing a wig due to Iosing my hair when I was a child, to take it off. I was very, very nervous. I just sat there in my chair, absolutely shit scared, and suddenly I was aware of this figure standing over me. It was Rupert and he put out his hand and said, "I think this is fantastic", and walked off. That may have helped him in remembering who I was. He loves mentoring and changing people's careers, spotting young talent and really bringing it on. He engenders loyalty. It's more than a boss-employee relationship; it's more trusting than that. He was extremely good to me on personal matters as well, and he almost makes you feel like part of the family.

If I made a mistake he was always extremely supportive. Most of those happened at The Sun, and the biggest was when I ran a picture of Sophie Rhys-Jones topless a week before she married Prince Edward. I got a massive bollocking, but from that moment on, he was extremely supportive because I was taken to pieces by the press.

Among the senior executives who have worked for him very few have ever badmouthed him because there is a widespread respect.

He understands that in Britain, senior people are put through the mill just because they work for him.

David Yelland is senior vice-chairman of Weber Shandwick PR