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Will Tony Blair Hit the Speaking Circuit?

Along with "Middle East envoy," will Tony Blair add "speaker for hire" to his new job description? Now that the long-tenured British prime minister has officially stepped down, people who book speakers say he is sure to generate interest on the American lecture circuit.

“He’s a great orator, and people in the U.S. really like him,” said Maureen Brooks, president of the Denver-based Brooks International Speakers and Entertainment Bureau. She worked with Blair’s predecessor, John Major, who was quite successful speaking over here. Blair will do even better, Brooks predicts, in part because of the movie The Queen, which portrayed him sympathetically.

“A lot of people in the lecture industry were campaigning subtly before it was learned he was leaving office,” said Brian Palmer, president of the National Speakers Bureau in Illinois. “I’m sure they’ve been turning up the heat since he made the announcement, and it will soon be apparent through what means he’ll be available to speak here.” 

There's no word yet on whether Blair is actually considering an offer, but his wife, Cherie Booth, is already available for bookings through the New York-based Harry Walker Agency, which also reps Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Henry Kissinger. President Don Walker was unavailable for comment on the issue when we called this week.

Clinton has reportedly earned $250,000 for some individual speeches and $40 million in speaking fees in the six years since he left office. While Blair likely wouldn't command that price, he would be near the top, industry insiders say.

Former heads of state are always an attraction, especially those from more prominent nations. “Americans are fascinated by what foreigners think about us,” Palmer said. And globalization has business leaders more curious about an international perspective.

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