NEWS22 June 2021

Penguin chair and former Unilever exec named MRS honorary fellows

FMCG Media News People UK

UK – The Market Research Society has awarded honorary fellowships to Baroness Gail Rebuck, chair of Penguin Random House UK, and former Unilever chief executive Paul Polman.

Paul Polman

Rebuck and Polman (pictured) are the last two honorary fellows to be named as part of a cohort of 15 announced in 2021 to mark the 75th anniversary of MRS.

Statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, LSE director Baroness Minouche Shafik, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi and BritainThinks founding partner Deborah Mattinson are among the other honorary fellows for 2021.

Baroness Gail Rebuck, chair, Penguin Random House, said: “We were the first book publisher in the UK to set up a consumer insight department, which was unusual at the time. The book industry has now transformed globally, highly valuing the science of market research and data analysis, alongside the art of finding the best stories and creating bestsellers. I am honoured to have been awarded a fellowship by MRS on its 75th anniversary and congratulate the institution for leading in this important field.”

Paul Polman, co-founder and chair, Imagine, said: “The work of MRS has in fact never been more vital – especially in this age of fake news. We will not make the progress needed on our biggest social and environmental challenges without its continued leadership.”

Jane Frost, chief executive, MRS, added: “The 15 new honorary fellows come from a diverse range of backgrounds and careers and are a visible representation of the importance of evidence in present day society.  

“These final two honorary fellows we are announcing this year are both worthy recipients. Baroness Rebuck is someone I personally admire, who has always supported the research sector. Meanwhile Paul Polman has tirelessly promoted sustainability, including by signing his company up to the Net Zero Pledge – which I encourage all members of our industry to consider. Both have placed insight at the heart of the businesses they have successfully led.”