I don't want to add to the commentary about the demise of Bell Pottinger, as I think that has been fully explored, even exploited by many. But I was reminded of a comment made by Lord Bell when myself and a colleague had a meeting with him.

He was explaining that he was representing someone in the public eye who had in her youth been indiscreet and sadly photos had surfaced showing a bit more of her than she liked. He said the past is always there, you cannot wipe it out but you can - if you are under the spotlight - at least plan what will happen if your past actions threaten your reputation. Sadly these comments seem rather prescient!

And as Stefan Stern says in this article, if you don't want a bad reputation don't do bad things. PR is not a whitewash. The truth will come out so think twice before condoning a course of action. Boards should ask if it pass the 'fish' test - if it smells fishy, it is!