Tony Christodoulou with son Chris and daughter Kathy in 2016
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Obituary: Tony Christodoulou, father of PR

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Tony Christodoulou, widely considered a pioneer and father of public relations in Cyprus and beyond, has died. He was 80.

For five decades, Tony was known as “Mr British Airways” and “Mr New Zealand Lamb”, two brands that identified with the family business he started in 1971, initially as Action PR, and eventually Action Global Communications, now a full service digital and media consultancy with a network of 20 office in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

There are endless stories of people who encountered Tony, either promoting the British flag carrier, or New Zealand’s biggest export, for which he was honoured several times by the government in Auckland and served for many years as Honourary Consul.

His warm relations with the people in media allowed Action to get news or comments by clients published in leading publications and broadcasters, while Tony also represented several ‘Fleet Street’ newspapers and other publishers, whenever there was a breaking story in Cyprus or in the region.

There was never a challenge that Tony would not undertake, with his trusted Mickey at his side. Together they represented a wide range of clients who eventually realised the importance of public relations, as they put their heart into any project, from the flying cars in the Cyprus Rally to the flying moufflon with Cyprus Airways and its in-flight magazines.

In other words, Tony was an ‘influencer’ far before the term was coined by social media and insta-movers.

Roots

Born in Larnaca on January 17, 1943, Tony began his career in London in 1968 and returned to his roots three years later to start the PR firm in a spare room at home in Nicosia. Action PR survived the 1974 Turkish invasion that destroyed Cyprus and its economy, by wisely diversifying to include clients from regional markets, engaging in publishing books and in-house corporate magazines, mainly for hotels and tourism.

This led to the firm’s first overseas expansion with the Athens office in 1989, followed by alliances with global PR firms, only to eventually grow organically with a footprint in 40 countries.

In an announcement, the firm said, “the Action family has lost our visionary mentor, teacher, leader, and beloved friend. Gregarious, wise, larger than life, and the epitome of motivational energy, Tony was a dreamer, trailblazer, and true titan of the PR industry. He rewrote and redefined the industry rule book.”

“A passionate storyteller, Tony would gleefully recount countless tales, memories, anecdotes, and jokes. His infectious character charmed everyone he met – from peers in the House of Lords, to cinematic superstars such as Peter Sellers. His influence helped define PR and media landscapes in nations from the Baltics to the Atlas Mountains, and everywhere in between. His name will forever be ingrained in the history of PR.

He is succeeded by son Chris, CEO, and daughter, Kathy, Director of Actional Global Communications.

His funeral will take place on Monday. Donations in lieu of flowers to the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends, Pasykaf.