David Finn
David Finn

David Finn, a founding father of modern PR who launched Ruder Finn in 1948 with Bill Ruder, has died. He celebrated his 100th birthday on Aug. 30.

As RF chairman and CEO for more than 70 years, Finn nurtured the growth of corporate communications.

His 1969 book, “The Corporate Oligarch,” developed the groundwork for “stakeholder capitalism” by depicting corporations as “the central institution in American life” while underscoring the importance of public service.

By agreeing to take on only clients and projects that he believed in, Finn helped set the stage for the development of the corporate social responsibility practice.

Finn was a leading voice promoting ethics in business and Ruder Finn became the first firm with a standing ethics committee.

He led a full life beyond the world of public relations. He was a celebrated photographer who wrote or contributed his photos to more than 100 books.

Finn was an adjunct professor of PR at New York University, fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and member of the advisory council for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ruder Finn has established www.rememberingdavidfinn.com to honor its co-founder.