Mumbai: Allwyn Fernandes, veteran journalist, communication consultant and lay Catholic activist, expired late on Tuesday evening in Mumbai after a two year battle with cancer which he fought as tenaciously as he had fought many social ills in his long and distinguished career.
He is survived by his wife Enid, children Rohini and Rohan. He is mourned by a large circle of friends in the Media, Politics, civil society and management circles, including a large number of students he mentored over the decades. His death was announced in social media by Fr Cedric Prakash, SJ, the noted human rights activist and a close friend.
Allwyn Fernandes, born 1 June 1948, headed the Media Practice and conducts Media and Crisis Management Training for Edelman India Pvt. Ltd. Drawing on his 25 years of media experience with The Times of India, Mumbai, where he held several senior positions, he has been counseling a wide range of global clients on media strategy and sensitivity for almost 20 years. He headed the Communications Skills Training for company spokespersons, Crisis Management Training for senior management and media awareness sessions for key executives, helping them to understand what media is looking for and avoid needless conflict.
Allwyn conducted media training sessions for senior management of several global and Indian companies including the Tata Group, GE, Citibank, J&J, Wal-Mart, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and technology companies like Yahoo!
Besides media training, Allwyn was been involved in several crisis management situations and public affairs campaigns that involved spokespersons training. He was invited to share his experiences on “Biotechnology in Asian Agriculture – Generating Public Support” at the Asian Agriculture Congress at Manila in April 2001.
Allwyn majored in Physics-Mathematics from St Xavier’s College (Bombay University in 1969) and then did his journalism from Bhavan’s College of Mass Communication and the International Institute for Journalism in Berlin.
My Friend Allwyn Fernandes is No More!! R.I.P.
by Fr Cedric Prakash Sj
Ahmedabad: Dear Brothers, Allwyn Fernandes, a very close friend of mine expired last night in Bombay after a battle with cancer. His funeral will take place at St. Vincent Palloti Church, Marol (Maroshi), Andheri (East) Mumbai at 4.00 pm today(December 3rd 2014).
Allwyn had one special dying wish which he communicated to me and to all his family that I preside over his funeral and burial rites. When I met him in the first of the three value-time visits which I made to him (in November 10th, 14th & 30th ) he jokingly said to me “hopefully I will die on the day on which you can make it”. So I will be leaving later this morning for Bombay for his funeral and will be back tonight. His family has already sent me the ticket.
Allwyn was one of the foremost Catholic journalists and Communications Consultants of the country. At 66 years of age, he had reached the top-most rank in perception management, media and public relations. He completed full 25 years with the Times of India in Bombay before going he began his practice as a Public Relations and Media Consultant.
On December 1st, the day before he died, he completed 20 years with the top-of-the-rung firm “Edelman” as his Director of its Media Practice.In a citation to him dated December 1st 2014, Mr. Robert H. Holdheim, CEO South Asia, Middle East & Africa says, :
“Veterans like you are the backbone of our organization. You’re a role model to the many colleagues in our teams and to young people who mhave just joined our company who are embarking on their careers with us. We appreciate your commitment and years of hard work that have helped made Edelman one of the premier firms, in public relations.”
Earlier, when Allwyn was ill, Cardinal Oswald Gracias wrote:
“I appreciated your help very much in many matters. You will remember that I took you to address the CBCI Bishops and later on the FABC. You helped me often in the FABC.”
Allwyn always took a stand on behalf of the poor, the marginalised and other victims of society. The Church in India and civil society at large, deeply mourn him and will miss him!
I pray for his wife Enid, his children Rohini and Rohan (and Rohan’s wife Anisha), Allwyn’s sisters and all his near and dear ones- that they may have the strength to face these very difficult moments.
May he rest in peace!
John B. Monteiro
I knew Allwyn as I had to deal with him as Chief Reporter of the mother edition of Times of India in Mumbai – as I had been handling press relations for Larsen & Toubro. Earlier I used to deal with chief reporters who were awaiting retirement. To my knowledge Allwyn was the youngest Chief Reporter of the mother edition and I remember the heartburn among fellow-reporters with much longer service than him. But, went on regardless he handled his portfolio without fear or favour. He maintained a high standard of news that went into the paper. He would use his waste paper basket liberally to dumpy fluffy PR hand-outs presented as news. He shunned socialising with PR persons and dealt with their press releases on a professional basis – on merit. He never patronised Bombay Press Club which was next door to his office.
I have a special reason to remember and thank Allwyn. He gave me an entry to contribute to the Citylights Column on Mondays which was, and still is, page 2 readers’ magnet. Contributions to this column till then were restricted to staff reporters and I continued to write for the column which was later handled by Dileep Serdesai. I lost touch with Allwyn since he left Times but kept enquiring about him with Roger Pereira with whom he worked.