Julia Hood, who left as the first paid president/CEO of the Arthur W. Page Society on Nov. 18 after 18 months in the post, did not have a three-year contract with Page as reported June 26.

Offer of such a contract was reported in the 2011 IRS Form 990 of Page but this was a mistake, a pickup of verbiage from a previous contract, said Roger Bolton, who succeeded Hood as president.

Hood, Bolton
Hood, Bolton
Hood was paid a total of $378,565 for her 18-month stay, which included a $50,000 performance bonus at the end of the first year.

She departed to previous employer PR Week/U.S, although boundless enthusiasm had greeted her arrival and her allegedly stellar performance earned her a $50K bonus.

Such facts indicate there should be an investigation to see whether Page indulged in a giant waste of time and money and whose fault this was.

'Perfect Fit,' Said Margaritis

Bill Margaritis, 2010 Page chair, said on June 1, 2010 that “the new president’s role is a perfect fit for Julia. Having covered the industry for so many years, she has a deep understanding of all aspects of the communications field and has worked closely with many Page members either as a reporter or publisher. She also has the financial acumen and hands-on management experience of running a successful enterprise.”

One of her jobs was to “play a more active role as industry spokesperson.”

Valerie DiMaria, then with Peppercom, headed the search committee that included Cathy Babington, the late Harvey Greisman, Jim Murphy, Helen Ostrowski, Gary Sheffer and Don Wright.

Page member Richard Marshall of Korn/Ferry conducted the search pro bono with expenses up to $10,000. More than 200 prospects sought the post and more than three dozen in-depth interviews were conducted by the search team, said Margaritis.

The Page website listed Hood’s first year accomplishments as “implementing the first employee handbook and financial policies, overhauled the budgeting process for 2011, and reworked the staff vacation policies.”

Total revenues in 2010 grew to $1,661,700 from $1,362,189 but costs grew to $1,596,412 from $1,346,003. Page, which is conducting a fund-raising drive among members, had cash/savings/investments of $1,267,610 as of Dec. 31, 2011. Expenses in 2011 were $1,468,236.

Performance 'Exceptional'—Bolton

Bolton said Hood’s performance was "exceptional and the board of trustees is grateful for her service."

"We made substantial progress during her tenure and were extremely disappointed when she elected to accept an attractive offer from another employer," he said. "As her successor, I have benefited immensely from the changes that Julia put in place and I am proud to try to carry on the progress that she began."

Hood herself e-mailed this website that she only signed a standard employment contract and was an “at will” employee.

Some veteran members are not satisfied with the rosy explanations provided above. They feel the entire search process, involving more than 200 people, many of them members in need of a job, was a vast waste of time and energy since they feel dominant figures in Page had pre-picked Hood for the post.

The enthusiasm generated by Hood when she joined Page and the $50K bonus paid to her after one year do not square with her departure six months later.

This reporter, although based two blocks from Page offices at 42nd St. and Madison Ave., never saw Hood nor talked to her on the phone during her 18 months in office.

We had asked in e-mails to Hood how Page could justify being a 501/c/3 “charity” when its activities were very close to those provided by the PR Society, IABC and several other PR groups. PRS and IABC have separate 501/c/3s that allow tax-free deductions by corporations.

Page is more open than some PR groups, but 18 of its 35 board members attended the secretive 2012 (PR) Seminar outside of San Diego including Ray Jordan of Johnson & Johnson, chair of Seminar. Among attendees was Bolton.