"While I was expecting to see a dashing Hans Solo PR type walk through my door, in walked Yoda instead," said Jack Potter, former US postmaster general, in recalling the first time that he met the diminutive and soft-spoken Harold Burson.
The Burson-Marsteller co-founder though more than lived up to the Yoda image by imparting PR wisdom to Potter that helped him guide the USPS during the 2001 anthrax incident, through the mail crisis that resulted in the deaths of five people.
Potter was among speakers at the Feb. 28 memorial to Burson held at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, which is right across the street from Burson's former New York apartment. More than 425 people RSVPed for the event.
Former B-M vice chairman and 96-year-old Buck Buchwald, who quit his job at a business-to-business PR firm to become the first employee of Harold and Bette Burson; Diana Ross, Burson's long-time former assistant; Pat Ford, ex-B-M USA CEO; Karen Hughes, vice chair; along with Burson’s son, Scott, and grandson, Wynn Burson Cateron, also spoke at the event.
WPP CEO Mark Read addressed the audience via video from London. BCW CEO Donna Imperato welcomed the audience. Chris Foster, North America president and a third-time BCW boomerang, presided over the affair.
Burson died Jan. 10 in Memphis. He was 98.