Just as a thousand liggers sharpened their patter to pass the clipboard test to slither into post Oscar parties, four days later in London I suspect the wannabes will try to assemble at Matthew Freud’s send off hurrah for his arch lieutenant, Kris Thykier.
Tonight’s bash promises to mimic some of the sumptuous parties that attracted the film glitterati in la la land. It has to be a fitting send off to mark the passing of a Freudian legend. I suspect it is not the whiff of vintage champagne and gourmet canapés that is enticing, but the promise of a networking frenzy.
Some whisper that Thykier has gone one better than his boss by exiting the mores of PRsville, at an age Matthew proclaimed that he would leave the profession, but has yet to find the egress. Kris leaves the PR world at a point when it is struggling to stamp real authority; it is a very different world to the one he entered as a callow youth a decade and a half ago.
I first met him in a sweaty comedy club when I was promoting a forgotten household japester. My account handler at the time was none other than the brilliant author Jane Green who advised me to snap up the handsome dude before Matthew Freud. Jane spotted his talent but I couldn’t be persuaded to scoop up the elegant young Turk. Perhaps he was just too good looking. I remember a self assured and determined kid that had his destiny mapped out. It’s one hire that I regret I didn’t make.
Matthew Freud his boss and mentor, entwined Thykier in his holy trinity of directors: all with differing skills they became the perfect set of clubs, fundamental in building the Freud brand. He has certainly helped morph it into something that is both respected and loathed, depending on your view of public relations. I am firmly in the camp that embraces the way Freuds have kicked the biz up the arse over the last two decades. Thykier bows out perhaps at the time when there are far too many practioners that have no idea what the game is.
Kris is the consummate PR: not a posturing cliché but a bright and effectual operator who understands the hectoring client, supercilious brand and aggressive journalist. Thinker’s passing leaves a huge void in the Freud Empire. A principled being that has an emollient effect. He is well connected and a fixer that manages to talk sense. He blends his clients into an exotic cocktail and profited from the French Publicis Group acquisition of a 50.1% stake in Freud in 2005. He has enjoyed the decadence of the hunting lodge in Mount Street that is the group’s offices, like some Bond baddies lair. He spreads his influence across the business, something that will be missed.
In truth Freud will not replace his unique personality and nor come to that will the world of PR because he is a true Argonaut. The question has yet to be answered on who will step into his Prada loafers? It’s interesting that no one has been put forward.
But tonight is all about saying bon voyage to Kris, as he heads off into that glamorous movie world as partner of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels producer Matthew Vaughn. And marvelling at the size of the Thykier/Freud contacts book that produced tonight’s guest list.