Contact O'Dwyer's: 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, April 7, 2004, Page 1

Mexico may spend up to $8 million through Dec. '05 to promote tourism, according to its contract signed with its PR firm, Burson-Marsteller.

The WPP Group unit, which began working for the Mexico Tourism Promotion Board last April, is guaranteed a minimum $5 million for its campaign to promote a "positive perception" of Mexico and its products, and position it as a "high-quality travel option" for Americans and Canadians. It is to foster a good image of Mexico while tackling issues concerning "hygiene and safety" and "counteracting the negative perception of certain tourist destinations with relation to contamination and safety."

In the U.S., B-M is to play up Mexico's close proximity and hospitality, while the country's warm weather is to be featured in the Canadian outreach.

B-M's budget depends upon the availability of funds authorized by Mexico's Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.

Walter Jennings, the former VP-global communications at Ford Motor Credit Co. ($180 billion in receivables), is now executive VP and head of GCI Group's North American corporate practice.

Prior to Ford, Jennings headed the Hong Kong office of Gavin Anderson & Co., handling clients such as Hong Kong Telecom, Morgan Stanley, Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers and Barclay's Bank.

Jennings, who is fluent in French and conversational in Mandarin, represents the "caliber of talent" that GCI CEO Bob Feldman believes will bring "added value to the firm's c-suite engagements."

WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell could receive up to $80 million in stock over the next decade if shareholders vote to approve the firm's amended Leadership Equity Acquisition Plan. The program covers 19 WPP executives, rewarding them with up to five shares for each they own depending on whether the firm meets the performance targets of its key rivals.

WPP shareholders meet April 16 to vote on the revamped compensation program at the Savoy Hotel in London. The meeting was originally set for April 7, and was rescheduled to allow shareholders more time to consider the compensation program. WPP is parent company of Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR, Cohn & Wolfe and others.

The New Jork Jets have brought in Linden Alschuler & Kaplan to provide PR firepower for the team's game plan to move to a pricey home on Manhattan's west side.

The deal is part of a $1.4 billion expansion project of the Jacob Javits Center, with $600M coming from the city and state for a retractable roof stadium and platform over west side rail yards.

The Jets stadium would also help with the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics. The team, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson magnate Woody Johnson, said it would kick in $800 million for the project.

Former New York Sen. Al D Amato is lobbying against the stadium on behalf of the Dolan family, which owns Cablevision and Madison Square Garden.

Financial PR firm Pondel Wilkinson has split from Manning, Selvage & Lee three years after the Publicis unit snapped up the Los Angeles-based firm.

Roger Pondel, PW president/CEO, said in a statement that the "occasions to work jointly on accounts were not as often as [the firm] would have liked."

He noted MS&L has invited PW to become an affiliate of the firm and said PW intends to collaborate with MS&L "from time to time."

Richard Simonelli, head of MS&L's financial communications unit in New York, did not return a call about the split. MS&L offers IR services through its Capital MS&L units in London and New York.

The firm completed the PW deal in February 2001, highlighting a blurring of the lines between PR and IR with new disclosure requirements and changing investor attitudes.

Loretta Ucelli, communications director for President Bill Clinton's final 22 months in office, has been tapped by Columbia University as executive VP for communications and external relations.

She was executive VP at Edelman in New York and chair of its crisis management practice.

Susan Brown, VP of PA for the university, told this NL Ucelli replaces June Massell, who departs to focus on a consulting practice and to spend more time with a teenage daughter. She had the post for a year and a half, a term which drew fire from the school's paper as six staffers left or were fired from the public affairs office during her tenure.

Internet Edition, April 7, 2004, Page 2

A failure to follow up by newsrooms and an American public that doesn't understand the TV news business contributed heavily to the Medicare VNR flap widely covered over the last two weeks, according to one of its key players.

In an interview with O Dwyer's , Karen Ryan, a PR consultant who was the voice on one of the controversial spots, said a fairly sound story by The New York Times gave way to a two-week news cycle of distortions and character attacks.

"Newspapers made it sound like Karen Ryan perpetrated a fraud by somehow getting these spots on TV," she said. "The American public doesn't understand what happens in the news business. So when they read the government is putting out ‘fake news, of course they re angry. They think, ‘Oh my gosh, our news is coming from the government and they re hiring actors to do it. They don't realize a producer or editor put it on the air."

Ryan said the "actor" label is one of the more egregious tags she has been hit with – "hooker" and a "phony" were notable others over the last few weeks. "It's not about playing a reporter; I never pretended to do that," she said. "In just about every VNR a voice-over will say, ‘I m so-and-so reporting. You re not telling a newsroom this is the way the story goes. You re telling them this is what a cut spot looks and sounds like with your information."

Ryan is a former reporter for NPR's "Nightly Business Report."

Says VNRs Marked

The PR pro, who said the VNRs were clearly marked as from the government, suggested the media attacks on VNRs are essentially a misguided affront to PR. "PR people and news people have worked together for quite awhile," she said. "It's not a deceitful, terrible relationship. A TV producer would never know to cover certain things if a PR person never called."

She is somewhat dismayed that the PR industry and its service companies were not out front on the issue. Ryan suggested that perhaps reporters on the story hadn't contacted them, as few contacted her for the numerous stories written about her.

Ryan runs the Karen Ryan Group in Washington, D.C., handling media training, corporate videos and other PR work. She was called in for the Medicare assignment by Washington, D.C.-based Home Front Communications and has done the voiceover for other government VNRs in the past. Ryan notes that the Clinton Administration also used the tool to promote points about Medicare.

She is most critical of the media for the story, but warns that if she could become the center of a firestorm, then few are safe. "Somewhere the perception became that the government really tried to fool somebody and they hired me to play the key roles," she said. "If this is news to the print people, they should take a look at the way the rest of the media operate."

Los Angeles has begun an audit of Fleishman-Hillard's $3 million a-year contract with the city's Department of Water and Power, according to a report in the April 2 Los Angeles Times.
The probe follows complaints by city members about "wasteful" spending by the utility that is seeking an 18 percent hike in water rates. Councilman Dennis Zine questioned why the water and power monopoly needs a PR firm in the first place. Jack Weiss, who also serves on the Council, told the Times: "I've always wondered why a public utility needs an outside PR firm to convince people to flick on their light switch and turn on their water faucet."

City controller Laura Chick decided to do an audit after refusing to pay F-H's invoices for December and January. She questioned billings of $50 to $100 for quarter-hour periods, in which F-H staffers made phone calls or sent e-mails.

The Times reports that F-H received nearly $20 million over the last seven years from the DWP.

Richard Kline, western regional president of F-H, told this NL the firm is "tremendously proud" of its work for the DWP, and confident that it did not overcharge the client for any service.

Jerry Franz, who was national VP-comms. for the American Diabetes Assn., has returned to Porter Novelli, after more than a decade, as executive VP and director of strategic alliances in its health and social marketing practices. He will counsel the National Cancer Institute and Alzheimer's Assn.

Franz told O'Dwyer's that he was "intrigued by a couple of challenges" offered by PN. The first is to work on a "terrible chronic disease," such as Alzheimer's . The second is to "help shape the culture of the office." He said Rob Gould, PN's GM in Washington, D.C., wants him to serve as a mentor to staffers. "I ll be successful when future healthcare job candidates consider Porter Novelli as the best place to work in D.C.," he said.

The Washington Beef Commission will unveil how it turned the PR nightmare discovery of Mad Cow in a Yakima-area dairy farm into an opportunity to educate the public about the hype surrounding the disease at a PRSA meeting in Seattle on April 15.

Porter Novelli is sponsoring the event, featuring Patti Brumbach, executive director of the Commission. She plans to provide insights into how the Commission "corralled Mad Cow mania" and beat back a stampede of initial negative publicity. "Dire predictions about the industry's future failed to materialize due in part to the rapid and reasoned response" of the Commission, says a PRSA flyer.

The luncheon costs $25, and will be held at McCormick & Schmick's Harborside Restaurant, which boasts of an "incredible selection of Pacific Northwest seafood."

Internet Edition, April 7, 2004, Page 3


YM, a magazine for young girls, will be relaunched with the August "Back to School" issue, which goes on sale in early July.

Joan LaBarge, publisher, said the New York-based magazine's new editorial mission is to focus on the "19-year-old mind-set."

The magazine, which has cut its circulation rate base to 1.5 million, down from two million, also is changing its frequency to 11 times plus a newsstand special devoted to proms.

Linda Fears, who took over as editor on March 1 after Christina Kelly resigned, said YM can take this step because its name does not label the reader with an age that is younger than her. "It lets her be who she wants to be," said Fears.

"I ve crafted this vision for YM because I firmly believe that there is not one way to talk to all teens — a 13-year-old is so different from a 19-year-old," she said.
"The new YM is no longer about boys, it's about relationships; it's no longer about kissing quizzes, it's about opinion polls; it's no longer giggly, it's celebratory. YM is for the reader who knows we are on the verge; she looks to us for what's now and what's next," she said.

John DeCesare, previously group publisher of Northstar Travel Media, where he ran three publications and two websites, was named publisher of Business Traveler magazine.

The magazine, which is published 10 times a year, is written for the executive-level frequent traveler with coverage of top destinations, hotels, airlines and a variety of information and travel tips.

BT is published by Euromoney Institutional Investor in seven editions including the U.S., U.K., Asia, Middle East, Germany, Hungary and China.

Eva Leonard is editor-in-chief. She is located at 225 Park ave. South, New York. 212/754-6980.


"Eyewitness Teen/Kids News," a weekly TV news program for young audiences, with news delivered by their peers, is now aired on 175 stations.

Among the new stations are all 29 in the Hearst/Argyle TV group, the largest operator of ABC affiliates and the second largest operator of NBC affiliates.

Alan Weiss, a former senior program producer at "Eyewitness News," on WABC-TV in New York, started the 30-minute weekly program, which delivers age-appropriate news stories for a national audience.

Besides breaking news, ET/KN features "news you can use" reports on dealing with bullies, the downsides of illegal file sharing, and the dangers of teen drinking and junk-food diets.

"Our anchors and our news, entertainment and sports reporters, are kids," said Weiss.

The on-air team includes: Cody Gifford, Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford's 13-year-old son; Haley Cohen, 14, daughter of CNN anchor Paula Zahn and real estate developer Richard Cohen, and Mwanzaa Brown, 13, who starred on Broadway as Young Simba in "The Lion King."

John Meyers, 15, covers the entertainment world, and both Weiss daughters are reporters.

The show is taped on Saturday mornings by Weiss video and film production company, which is located at 355 W. 52 st., New York. 212/974-0606.


The results of a study of local TV coverage of health and medical news found several "troublesome trends," such as stories that are too short, too sensationalized, use only one source and are reported by journalists who don't regularly cover the topic.

Gary Schwitzer, who is assistant professor of journalism at the Univ. of Minnesota, reached these conclusions after reviewing 840 health and medical news stories that aired on the late afternoon and evening newscasts from February to May 2003 on the four largest stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

He found the average length of the stories was 45 seconds, "a shallow commitment," wrote Schwitzer, who pointed out the length of health stories noticeably increased during "sweeps" periods.

The study also cited "baseless basic-sciences predication from all the stations."

For example, KMSP aired a story about research that yawning indicated empathy for others and that psychiatrists would use the information to help treat people with schizophrenia. In his critique, Schwitzer said "no substantiation was given for the leap" to the schizophrenia claim and only one source was used.

In another example, KSTP's story about a new "virtual" colonoscopy exam, the station quoted a proponent of the procedure as saying the exams showed a more complete picture; no data were offered to support that claim.

Schwitzer, who once headed CNN's medical news, was surprised by the absence of local reporters who specialize in health and medical issues.

He believes the findings are important because surveys show most Americans get most of their health information from TV.

Latinitas, a bilingual online magazine for girls ages 9-14, which was founded by students at the Univ. of Texas, marked its first anniversary by starting Teen Latinitas for young women ages 15-20.

The new magazine will address more mature issues faced by Latina girls.

Alicia Rascom and Laura Donnelly, co-editors of Latinitas, can be reached at 512/302-0830.

An analysis of clippings sent by Burrelle's /Luce<%0> to clients in Febraury indicates 82% are from newspapers and 18% are from magazines/other print media.

Most (70%) of the newspaper clippings are from daily newspapers, grouped in these categories: Business (25%), entertainment (20%), food (15%), lifestyle (15%), local news (10%), national news (10%), and international/other (5%).


The New York Times is producing a weekly eight-page supplement of news for The London Daily Telegraph, and The London Times is putting together a weekly insert for distribution by the English-language edition of The Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo.

The new Times supplment, which appears in 400,000 copies of the Telegraph's Sunday edition, is similar to one produced by the Times for France's Le Monde Saturday editions and the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the Times.

The Daily Shimbun supplement, which will be branded The Times and carry the Times masthead, will offer a weekly view of news, comment and analysis from Europe.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, April 7, 2004, Page 4


Isobel "Bella" Price was named editor of All You, a new monthly magazine that Time Inc. will publish for Wal-Mart Stores.

Price had been editorial director of five home magazines at IPC Media, a British subsidiary of Time.

She said feature articles in the new magazine – which expects to debut in October with a guaranteed circulation of 500,000 – will be about affordable, down-to-earth ideas tested by women.

Initial distribution will be in Wal-Mart stores, which currently control about 15% of all U.S. newsstand sales of magazines, according to industry estimates.


In Touch Weekly, a no-frills weekly celebrity magazine that was started 18 months ago by Bauer Publishing, is attracting readers without scoops, exclusive photos or hard-hitting reporting like its three main rivals—People, Us Weekly and Star.

Crain's New York Business said newsstand sales of ITW, which looks like a "down-market knockoff" of Us, had doubled in its first year, to 500,000 copies a week. Recent issues have been selling close to 700,000 copies a week at newsstands, according to CNYB.

Matthew Flamm, CNYB reporter, said In Touch's "coverage is marked mainly by a publicist-friendly, emphasize-the-positive attitude toward its famous subjects."

Richard Spencer, who is editor-in-chief, is based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.


"The Metro Golf Show," a radio program devoted to golf, began its second season on WVOX in New Rochelle, N.Y., March 27.

The show, which airs every Saturday from 8 to 8:30 a.m., is hosted by Bill Meth and Tom Mariam, whose PR firm, Mariam Communications, produces the program.

Topics covered range from golf equipment to golf-related injuries to charitable events to the golf games of Presidents of the U.S. The first show of 2004 had a live interview with Charlie Robson, executive director of the Metropolitan PGA.

Mariam said publicists can pitch him guests and topic ideas. His firm is at 6 Bonwit rd., Port Chester, NY 10573-1937; 914/939-4294; fax: 939-5344.


Mark Robichaux, who spent 13 years as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was named executive editor of news at Broadcasting & Cable, New York.

PJ Bednarksi, who was B&C's editor, becomes executive editor of features and special reports.
Robichaux, 38, is the author of "Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the Modern Cable Industry," published by John Wiley & Sons in 2002.


Bob Evans was promoted to editorial director of Information Week and Tech Web.

Stephanie Stahl, who was IW's editor, was named to succeed Evans as editor-in-chief of the Manhasset, N.Y.-based publication, published by CMP Media.

Jack Soat, previously senior executive editor, was promoted to editor of IW.

Rick Rosen, previously with Bloomberg News, where he headed the metro news team, has joined Women's Wear Daily as managing editor.

Nicole McCarthy, formerly editor-in-chief of OK! magazine, was named executive editor of Us Weekly.

Rob Medich, previously at Jungle magazine, was named senior editor at Men's Fitness.

Stacy Small has joined Overtime, a new lifestyle magazine for the sports industry, as managing editor.

Laura Brown, formerly at W, joined Details as articles editor.

Nancy Bilyeau, previously articles editor of Good Housekeeping, is now at Ladies Home Journal in the same title.

Jerry Eskenazi, who has covered sports for The New York Times since 1959, has authored his 14th book, "A Sportswriter's Life." Eskenazi will address the Society of the Silurians on April 13 at the Players Club in New York.

Joan Schneider, president of Schneider & Associates, a Boston-based PR firm, is co-authoring a book entitled "New Product Launch: 10 Proven Strategies," which will be published in October by Stagnito Communications, a publisher of food, beverage and packaging magazines. Jeanne Yocum, a PR practitioner and writer in Granby, Mass., is co-author.

A total of 53 journalists were killed in 2003, 15 of them in Iraq, according to the World Assn. of Newspapers annual report. Three countries, Iraq, the Philippines and Colombia, accounted for more than half the deaths. The 2003 death toll compares with 46 killed in 2002, 60 in 2001 and 53 in 2000.

B, a custom magazine published quarterly by Bloomingdale's department store chain, wants to have its circulation audited by Business for Performing Audits International.
The fashion magazine, published by British-owned John Brown Publishing in New York, is sent nationwide to 270,000 Bloomingdale customers.

Benetton Group, a clothing retailer, is preparing to relaunch its magazine Colors.

The magazine's editorial director, Kurt Andersen, told Reuters recently his magazine is focused on serious photojournalism and social inquiry and is not aimed as a marketing tool to sell the company's clothing.

Internet Edition, April 7, 2004, Page 7


A panel of foreign editors, discussing the big differences in the perception of the U.S. here and abroad, laid much of the differences to press coverage.

The panel addressed 200 Arthur Page Society members at the Hotel Pierre in New York.

A survey just released by the Pew Research Center found that while President Bush is rated "favorable" by 61% of Americans, he is rated "unfavorable" by 85% of the French and Germans and 57% of the British.

The U.S. press gave lots of leeway to the Bush Administration following 9/11 and only recently did it start to question its foreign policies, said Lionel Barber, U.S. managing editor of the (U.K.) Financial Times.

This happened when Democratic candidate Howard Dean "stood up to the bully in the yard" (President Bush) and attacked the Administration's war against Iraq, said Barber.

The panelists, including Theo Sommer, editor-at-large of Die Zeit, major German daily, and Siu Wai Cheung, U.S. bureau chief of Ta Kung Pao, Hong Kong daily, characterized U.S. coverage as superficial and lacking in sufficient foreign news coverage.

Sommer led the attack, saying: "The U.S. is at the zenith of its power but its standing in the world is at its nadir." He said the Bush Administration had a "go-it-alone" policy that ignored what the United Nations wanted unless the U.N. could be "conned or hijacked."

Bush Agenda Questioned

Ninety percent of Europeans feel Bush is using 9/11 "for an entirely different agenda" than just fighting terrorism, he said.

Towards the end of the session, Sommer softened his stance, saying Europe is not going to abandon the U.S. now that the war in Iraq has been joined.
Barber said he agreed with "a great deal" of what Sommer said.

U.S. policy became "completely different" after 9/11, said Barber, with policymakers seeing an "omnipresent threat" and making up their minds to go to war "without its allies," if necessary.

Europeans, he said, have a "different idea" of how to fight terrorism. European and American intellectual elites "drifted further and further apart" after 9/11, he added.

Gelb Said Europe Wants Change

Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and former columnist and op-ed page editor of The New York Times, who spoke prior to the panel of journalists, said about 80% of the foreign leaders he has talked to want a change of administration in the U.S.

He hopes for the emergence of "more moderate" elements on both sides of the Atlantic.

Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman PR Worldwide, opened the spring meeting of the Page Society with slides of new research by the Pew Research Center showing that trust in the U.S. is plummeting abroad.

The Rendon Group has produced a deck of playing cards carrying the images of Colombian drug lords in its effort to track down narco-terrorists on behalf of the country's Ministry of Defense.

The cards, however, have not been distributed, according to The Washington Times. The State Dept. determined that playing cards are a "poor fit" in a country as vast and rugged as Colombia. An official told the paper that groups, such as the anti-government Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, are hiding out "in areas where the people are barely literate." Diplomats were surprised that Rendon produced the cards. The playing card program is being re-evaluated by William Wood, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia.

The playing card idea was used in Iraq, and got some credit for the capture of Saddam Hussein's henchmen.

The Pentagon's Drug Enforcement Policy Section enlisted TRG in its "Plan Colombia" program aimed at combatting drug trafficking. The firm, according to its website, works closely with the Colombian Army, Navy, Air Force and National Police on "message development and dissemination, strategic communications planning, and media event planning."

Jack Abramoff, who faces a probe by Sen. John McCain over the hefty fees earned from Indian tribes, has hired Dan Klores Communications for PR.
The $500 an-hour super-lobbyist, and PR executive Michael Scanlon, the former spokesperson to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, generated $45 million for casino work from four Indian tribes (Agua Caliente in California, Louisiana Cosshattas, Mississippi Choctaws and the Saginaw Chippewas in Michigan) during the past three years. McCain called those fees "disgraceful."

His staffers also found that "Scanlon or organizations with which he was in some way associated" paid Abramoff a previously undisclosed $10 million fee.

Scanlon heads his own grassroots PR firm, Capital Campaign Strategies. Abramoff resigned his position at Greenberg Traurig on March 3.

Richard Rosenbaum, a member of GT's executive committee, said Abramoff resigned after "he disclosed to the firm for the first time personal transactions and related conduct which are unacceptable to the firm." He is now a business consultant to Interpublic's Cassidy & Assocs.

Dan Klores would not comment on his work for Abramoff other than to say he was working closely with the super-lobbyist's lawyer, Abbe Lowell.

Dan Klores Communications and Fenton Communications launched Air America Radio last week. Fenton is running ads on the liberal network positioning itself as the "good guy" in the PR business. Listeners are offered a subscription to the quarterly Fenton Communique, and can sign up for a free seminar in New York on building communications capacity.

Internet Edition, April 7, 2004 Page 8



U.S. foreign policy and the U.S. press took a lambasting at the Arthur Page Society spring seminar in New York last week (page 7).

Not much of a rebuttal came from anyone in the mostly corporate audience.

Some thought that an editor from a conservative U.S. newspaper such as the Washington, D.C., Times should have moderated the panel of foreign editors so that the U.S. viewpoint could have been presented more forcefully.

A just-released Pew Research Center study said that while 54% of Americans trust their government to "do what is right," only 13% of French citizens, 16% of Germans, and 21% of U.K. citizens hold that view.

The Chinese, at 30%, are the most trustful that the U.S. will do the right thing.

The audience did not like remarks by panelists that the U.S. press had been co-opted by the anger that followed 9/11, becoming, in effect, cheerleaders in the way the Bush Administration chose to fight terrorism.

The U.S. press and Americans in general were painted as being intellectually inferior to the Europeans. The foreign editors felt too little space in U.S. newspapers is given to foreign news, resulting in lack of sufficient knowledge about international events.

Readership of daily newspapers has been declining for many years and is especially low among recent college grads.

Some papers take a "marketing" approach, studying their readers to see what type of news they want and doling out coverage accordingly. International news is not at the top of what readers want.

A Towers Perrin survey of worker attitudes towards company communications, described in the March 22 Ragan Report, found that less than half of employees view such communications as credible. They appear as dishonest to about one quarter of employees. Ragan says companies should remember that employees "know the truth"...

Diebold, which makes voting machines, is coming under flack because of charges that its new type of electronic devices can be compromised in some way. Diebold CEO Walden O Dell didn't help things when he wrote a fund-raising letter backing the re-election of President Bush. The April Vanity Fair called the new machines "glitch-prone and vulnerable to hackers" and warned they will be in most states in November. Diebold gave nearly $100K in soft money to the Republican National Committee and nothing to the Democrats, says VF. Don Eagon, VP, global comms. and IR of Diebold, was president of the National IR Institute in 2002-2003...

Interpublic gets good grades from analyst Timothy Connolly of Sconset Capital Mgmt. for improving its balance sheet by selling $693 million of stock and convertible equity and other steps.

Noting that IPG has cut its "net debt" from $1.7 billion to $470M, he looks for the stock to rise from about $15 to the "low $20s" since it's only trading at 17 times next year's expected earnings...New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer had his staff pose as prospective customers of 22 HMOs and ask them questions about different conditions and their treatments. He then graded the responses, giving no HMOs an "A," only one a "B," and 18 of them a "D" or an "F." This type of research would be unethical for a journalist to do.

Reporters cannot ethically disguise their identities in doing such research. Spitzer's office is now demanding explanations from the HMOs (from New York Post March 31)...

WPP Group stockholders, almost all of them institutions, are beefing about the compensation plan of the firm (page one). As a stockholder, we got the 16-page legal notice of the proposed changes which is packed with about 11 pages of almost impenetrable legal/accounting prose. It would take a stockholder a long time to find out what's going on by reading these pages.

The U.K.'s Daily Telegraph did the best job of explaining the situation. CEO Martin Sorrell could get up to $80 million (44 million pounds) in rewards in the next decade and 18 other senior executives could also profit handsomely, it points out. The Pensions Investment Research Consultancy is against the pay plan, calling it "excessive."

WPP argues that the rewards are comparable to those at Omnicom and Interpublic. But the Telegraph points out that executive pay in the U.S. is "far higher than in the U.K." The number of options given to WPP execs would depend on how WPP shares perform vs. 13 ad rivals.

But WPP could also award shares based on "exceptional circumstances. This worries PIRC and Manifest, another pension fund advisor. The National Assn. Of Pension Funds backs the pay plan, saying high pay over a long period is O.K. as long as there is unusual performance. U.S. coverage of this story has been light...

Kekst and Co., according to Corporate Control Alert, was advisor on 55 deals worth more than $100 million in 2003 and involving a U.S. buyer or seller, making it the No. 1 firm in this category by a large margin. In second place was Abernathy MacGregor Group with 29 deals, while third place was held by Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher. Two U.K.-based firms tied for fourth place with 20 deals each – Brunswick Group and Financial Dynamics.

CCA explained there was a number of trans-Atlantic deals last year. Citigate Sard Verbinnen and Burson-Marsteller tied for fifth place with 13 deals each while Owen Blicksilver PR handled seven and Edelman PR Worldwide handled five.

--Jack O'Dwyer


Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471