in a clandestine move last week, has added Kodak and Bausch & Lomb PR vet Mike McDougall as the firm looks to establish a Rochester presence.

McDougall was recently global VP of corporate communications and public affairs for B&L, joining the eye care company after more than four years as global PR director at Eastman Kodak.

Bill Collins, principal at TC, told O’Dwyer’s McDougall is a longtime acquaintance in PR circles and saw the opportunity to build an operation in the Rochester, a market which Collins said tends to keep its PR local or reach out to New York rather than west to Buffalo. The area counts a population of more than one million and operations of global companies like IBM, Delphi, GM and Constellation Brands.

McDougall will operate from Rochester as McDougall Travers Collins. He said he discussed joining the firm for several years and found the timing right upon leaving B&L.

IR Staffers Exit

TC is reeling from the Sept. 17 exit of its IR practice leaders and three other staffers from the unit in a move that surprised the firm’s management.

Lynn Casteel, executive VP and managing director of TC’s IR practice, and Jeff Schoenborn, senior VP of corporate communications and IR, notified Collins on Sept. 17, after gathering belongings from the firm earlier that Saturday morning, that were setting up a rival shop with TC clients and starting Sept. 19 along with the firm’s three other IR staffers. The move came two days after bonuses were handed out.

Collins said the move was surprising and called their conduct “disappointing,” pointing out that Schoenborn and two other staffers had started their careers at the firm and Casteel was a 16-year veteran. He said the move came without any indication the group was unhappy or wanted to change the practice’s operation or revenue model.

Collins said the firm will look to rebuild the unit, which produced from $400-800K in revenue.

The former staffers, meanwhile, have set up Casteel Schoenborn in nearby Williamsville, N.Y. They did not have contracts or non-compete agreements with TC, although the firm is considering legal options.

The Buffalo News and Inside Investor Relations have more on the IR episode.