Matthew Freud | MediaGuardian 100 2010

PR guru Matthew Freud leaps up the MediaGuardian 100 as his firm is appointed as lead agency for the 2012 Olympics

Job: chairman, Freud Communications

Age: 46

Industry: public relations

Turnover: £33m

Staff: 172

Worth: £190m (joint, with wife Elisabeth Murdoch)

2009 ranking: 74

It was the year in which his eponymous PR agency won the London Olympics, but others may remember it as the one in which he smeared chocolate cake over Hugh Grant's shirt. Welcome to Matthew Freud's world.

New Labour has come and gone but Freud remains at the heart of the political establishment. It was Freud who flew David Cameron to meet Rupert Murdoch, and both Cameron and George Osborne are regular guests at the PR guru's parties, including the one he threw for the 40th birthday of his wife, Elisabeth Murdoch.

Freud is also close to the new owner of the Independent, Alexander Lebedev, and his agency was closely involved in its redesign. It must have made for some interesting family conversations when the Independent's editor, Simon Kelner, was harangued by James Murdoch – Freud's brother in-law – for the paper's attacks on Rupert Murdoch.

But it was his Olympics win – Freud Communications was appointed as the lead agency in promoting the 2012 games – that prompts the PR guru's rise up this year's MediaGuardian 100.

The games joined a list of Freud clients that includes the media giants Viacom, Time Warner, Sony, Conde Nast and BSkyB, and consumer clients such as PepsiCo, Mars, Asda and Nike.

Freud prefers to stay out of the limelight – he is not nicknamed St Matthew of the Shadows for nothing – but he also made headlines this year when he said he was "ashamed and sickened" by Rupert Murdoch's rightwing Fox News, and said he was "by no means alone within the family or the company" in holding such hostile views of the US news channel.

It prompted questions about the future of the channel's management and how much the comments were sanctioned by Rupert Murdoch. Another interesting family chat.

Freud is also the largest non-executive shareholder of The Rights House, the talent and literary agency formerly known as Peters Fraser & Dunlop, which he took over with Chris Evans' agent, Michael Foster.

He also owns stakes in M&C Saatchi, a 30% stake in the sports agency Pitch PR and has global reach through Publicis Groupe, which took a 50.1% stake in Freuds in 2005.

Freud founded Freud Communications in 1983. It became famous on the back of celebrity clients such as Chris Evans, Guy Ritchie, Geri Halliwell and Uri Geller.

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