ONE of the undoubted giants of Scottish PR is beginning his retirement this evening, with a party in Edinburgh.
After 36 years with BT, Alan Bonas is bowing out as head of communications of its Scottish operation.
The son of a professional boxer – Alan ‘Jock’ Bonas, who once ranked number seven in the world – colleagues will be later today reminiscing how he was firmly “in the corner of the Scottish press”.
Says colleague, Anna Steven: “Whether it was chartering helicopters to send journalists to see communications in action in the farthest reaches of Scotland, brokering multi-million £ sponsorship deals or chatting up Miss World in the back of a Rolls, Alan delivered everything BT asked of him and more.
“Journalists were always met with a courteous and prompt response, even when they paged on Sunday afternoons during the Formula One season.”
Before BT, Alan worked as a reporter on weekly newspaper, the Falkirk Herald, specialising in local government and editing the paper’s sports pages.
After five years, he left to write the Post Office newspaper. When he joined BT, he was initially press and publicity manager, involved in regional media relations across the UK, during which time he helped establish the BT UK Press and Broadcast Awards, then recognised as the biggest in the industry.
He then became a founding member of the BT Scotland media team, set up 11 years ago. Bonas is probably Scotland’s longest-serving PR officer.
Continues Steven, who is senior media and corporate relations manager at BT Scotland: “Alan created a brand identity for BT Scotland from scratch – a leading business commentator hailed it as the blueprint for companies seeking to establish a Scottish presence – and saw it named the second most influential company in Scotland in a newspaper poll.
“Highlights included the negotiation of BT Scotland’s flagship sponsorship of Hampden, the national stadium; internal roadshows around Scotland with broadcaster, Fred MacAulay, and winning numerous awards for BT Scotland’s arts sponsorship programme.
“’Highlights’ also saw Alan slipping away from the office for a couple of hours about once every six weeks. His exact hair colour attracted speculation from a number of newspaper diarists.”