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Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 1


Paul Taaffe, CEO of H&K since 2003, is stepping down from the WPP unit as the revamping begins in the aftermath of its Jan. 1 merger with Public Strategies Inc.

He will counsel PSI founder and now H&K CEO Jack Martin during a transitional period that is expected to last a couple of months.

Martin has hired Ken Luce, a Weber Shandwick alum, as global COO. He served as global client leader at WS and chief of its southwest operations. A 20-plus year PR veteran, Luce ran the Interpublic unit's key American Airlines account, including the carrier's response to the 9/11 attacks.

Prior to joining WS, Luce was campaign manager for now Texas Governor Rick Perry when he ran for agricultural commissioner in the Lone Star State.

Martin, a Texas politico, says Luce has the "proven experience of building programs and establishing tried-and-tested alternative models of consultancy that deliver the best value and results to clients."


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has pulled the plug on a planned RFP for PR services to support its Office of Secure Communities initiative.

Agencies were notified on Jan. 5, just two days after the ICE set a Jan. 11 date to release the RFP.

A Dept. of Homeland Security official overseeing the search told O'Dwyer's that ICE management determined that the work could be performed in-house by government personnel at this time.

The Secure Communities program combines data from the Dept. of Homeland Security and Dept. of Justice to identify aliens arrested by local authorities and has drawn a legal challenge and some criticism since it was implemented in 2008. The program is slated to go national in 2013.

The federal agency first notified firms in December that it planned to award a potential five-year contract.

Big-screen movie technology pioneer IMAX Corp. has filled its vacant top corporate communications slot with Edelman senior VP Ann Sommerlath.

The VP post had been vacant since Sarah Gormley left the company to head corporate communications at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in November.

Sommerlath, a former financial journalist reporting directly to CEO Richard Gelfondat, will lead IMAX's media initiatives and drive its overall communications strategy, the company said.


Washington Media Group severed its PR contract with Tunisia's Ministry of Communications on Jan. 7, seven months after going to work for the North African country and U.S. ally in fighting terrorism.

In a letter to Communications Minister Samir Abidi, WMG president Gregory Vistica, a former Newsweek correspondent and CBS News producer, suggested his firm's work to burnish the country’s image was being undermined by government actions.

“Recent events make it clear the Tunisian government is not inclined to heed our counsel regarding meaningful reforms,” wrote Vistica in the letter, which has been filed with the Dept. of Justice. “Indeed, the government's current actions and activities have undermined, or in some cases completely undone, whatever progress we have made in proving Tunisia’s reputation.”

WMG provided PR counsel to the ministry on issues like human rights, press freedoms and Internet censorship.

In a front-page story Jan. 14, the New York Times covered violence that has broken out in the “ancient Mediterranean hamlet” - a popular vacation spot for Westerners - over perceived corruption of the country's ruling elite. The Times said depictions of President Azine el-Abidine Ben Ali's riches, as well as the wealth of his family, were brought to light by U.S. diplomatic cables unveiled by WikiLeaks.


Colorado’s Tourism Office has kicked off an open RFP process to handle PR and social media on a contract that could stretch to three years.

New York-based travel and tourism PR firm MMG Mardiks is the incumbent and plans to pitch the review.

The RFP, issued Jan. 10 and open through Feb. 18, sets the goal of hiring an agency to help increase domestic visitors arrivals to the Centennial State through publicity, serve as an in-market media expert and resource, and maintain Colorado’s “buzz factor” on established social media networks with peer-to-peer interaction.

In the past the state has used its PR outreach to hit markets not covered by its $8.1M annual advertising budget, which focuses on Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Chicago and other cities and regions.

CTO director Kim McNulty stepped down last year after six years heading the agency. Colorado claims to have the No. 2 tourism Facebook page in the country.

Finalists will be asked to present to a selection committee in Denver in March or April.

Proposals are due Feb. 18. RFP:


Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 2


Dan Klores Communications is pitching the Committee to Save New York, a group of real estate and financial interests formed to promote New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call to slash the $10B Empire State budget deficit via spending cuts and givebacks on union contracts.

Cuomo declared that New York is in financial crisis, and vowed to transform it into a business-friendly state.

The Committee has established a $10M war chest to push its belief that New York can't live beyond its economic means. It has tapped ASGK Public Strategies, the firm of White House advisor David Axelrod, to develop messaging and political advertising.

Committee leadership includes executives from Tishman Speyer Properties, Partnership of New York City, CB Richard Ellis, Business Council, Related Companies and Durst Organization.

DKC managing director Bill Cunningham is repping the Committee. He is well-connected in New York politics.

Cunningham served for five years as New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's communications director. Earlier, he was on the staffs of Govs. Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo, and was chief of staff for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.


Three PR groups have set up The Chester Burger Scholarship for Excellence in PR in honor of 90-year-old PR pioneer Chet Burger.

Burger, who turned 90 on Jan. 10, was the first CBS TV reporter who later founded and ran Chester Burger & Co. for 24 years.

The Institute for PR, Arthur W. Page Society and PRSA Foundation contributed initial grants to set up the scholarship fund over the past two weeks as Burger was diagnosed with bladder cancer last summer.

James Arnold, a former president of CB&C, is among those coordinating fund raising for the endeavor. Those interested in making a donation can contact Philip Bonaventura ([email protected]).

Burger, who retired in 1988, earned the U.S. Air Force's highest civilian honor for two decades in counseling the military branch.

He also won PRSA's Gold Anvil in 1988 and earlier took home the John W. Hill Award from PRSA/N.Y. in 1980. He moved to Ruder Finn from CBS in 1955, where he served as VP and assistant to the president in a five-year stint. After a two-year term as president of Communications Counselors, he set up his own shop.

Burger can be reached at [email protected] and via mail at 33 W. 76th St., New York, NY 10023.

Andrew Bleeker, who was in charge of Obama for America's online marketing activities, is the new global digital chief at Hill & Knowlton. With the hire, Julie Atherton becomes senior advisor for integrated communications to CEO Jack Martin. For OfA, Bleeker handled list building, donor acquisition, voter registration, messaging and GOTV. He also did parallel work for the National Democratic Committee.


American Business Development Group represents French shipbuilder DCNS, which is in the midst of a controversial deal to sell at least two amphibious warships to Russia.

The deal marks the first sale of advanced weaponry to Russia by a NATO country.

The Washington Post reported that the sale “signaled a triumph for French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s relentless salesmanship and a boost for France’s sagging defense industry and 10 percent unemployment rate.”

The French Government owns a 10 percent stake in DCNS.

The announcement of the $1.2B deal for the Mistral-class helicopter carriers was made on Christmas Eve. It met with a storm of opposition from Russia’s neighboring countries and fellow former members of the Soviet Union, Estonia, Lithuania and Georgia.

The ships can carry up to 450 troops and 16 helicopters.

According to Wikileaks, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates objected to the proposed Mistral sale to Russia during a conversation with Sarkozy early last year.

DCNS and STX France will build two of the ships at St-Nazaire on France's Atlantic coast. The next two will be built in St. Petersburg.


Kiwanis International wants to hear from PR firms to support the launch of a new global campaign to eliminate children's tetanus, The Eliminate Project.

The effort for the service group in conjunction with UNICEF aims to raise $119M by 2015 to eradicate maternal and neonatal tetanus around the globe. The groups said the disease, known as MNT, kills one baby every nine minutes.

KI issued an open RFP for PR proposals on Jan. 11 to handle the project from March to July 2011 on a budget of about $50,000.

The work includes media relations support of its PR staff, PR counseling, celebrity engagement and other tenets.

Download the RFP at


Donna Myers, a food & spirits PR pro, died Jan 7 from Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease at her home in Holmdel, N.J. She was 72.

The North Dakota native began her career at Theodore L. Sills shop, which was acquired by Burson-Marsteller.

Known as a champion for the advancement of women in PR, Myers opened her own agency, Myers CommuniCounsel (now DHM Group) in 1979, servicing a string of blue-chips including Procter & Gamble, Quaker Oats, AT&T, Gerber, Hershey, Chiquita Brands and Bigelow Tea plus trade groups like National Dairy Board, Pickle Packers International, Pork Producers Council and Hearth Patio & Barbecue Assn.

Myers is survived by husband Charles, son Chip, daughter-in-law Kim and grandson Dylan.


Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 3


Apple stock tumbled in overseas trading Jan. 17 as the electronics/entertainment combine reports that its very public face, CEO Steve Jobs, is taking another medical leave of absence.

Apple’s announcement was made on the day U.S. markets were closed in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Apple shares closed at $348 on Jan. 14. Shares were down more than eight percent on the Frankfurt exchange Jan. 17.

The Cupertino-based Apple released an email from cancer-survivor Jobs Jan. 17, saying he will be “involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”

As he did in 2009 when Jobs took off for a liver transplant, COO Tim Cook will take over the management reins.

Jobs, 55, hopes to “be back as soon as I can” and appreciates respect for his privacy.


Kathy Ramsey, former executive VP of public affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters, has moved to News Corp. in Washington, D.C., as VP of government affairs, amid a handful of other moves for the company in the capital.

The media giant has also tapped NAB VP of media relations Kristopher Jones as director of government affairs, in addition to promoting two execs – Bill Guidera and David Fares – to senior VPs for gov’t affairs.

Ramsey makes the move from The Fritts Group, which she joined after the NAB. Jones has joined directly from the NAB. Michael Regan heads News Corp./D.C.

MySpace on the Block

News Corp, which purchased MySpace for $580M in ‘05 and oversaw the downward spiral of the former top social media site, is listening to offers for the unit.

Jack Kennedy, executive VP of News Corp.'s digital group, is responsible for the disposition/merger/spin-off of MySpace.

MySpace CEO Mike Jones announced plans last week to lay off almost half of its staff of 1,000 people.

In his termination letter, Jones regrets that laid-off workers couldn't continue on the journey with MySpace. He wants them to know that their “contribution to the business was a unique moment in time and that you participated in something that few have been part of in our industry.” Jones hopes ex-staffers will “stay connected.”

MySpace lost more than $150M during its last quarter.


Washington Post Company has added Ogilvy Government Relations to its roster in an effort to fend off increased regulation of its crown jewel, Kaplan Inc.

The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed “gainful employment rule” ranks high on Ogilvy’s agenda for the Post Co.

That measure would establish a debt-to-earnings ratio and cap student loan payments on a percentage of income.

OGR’s team includes Republican heavyweights such as CEO Drew Maloney, former aide to Tom DeLay, interviewer of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton impeachment manager; chairman Wayne Berman, advisor to every GOP presidential campaign since Reagan/Bush, and Justin Daly, ex-aide to Alabama GOP Sen. Richard Shelby.

Chris Giblin, former staffer to Texas Republican Congressman John Carter, is also on board.

WPC in October hired the well-connected Democratic firm Elmendorf Strategies to lobby for Kaplan, which accounted for 63 percent of its overall $3.5B in nine-month revenues.

Kaplan’s revenues were up 14 percent during that period. Operating profit soared 131 percent to $266M.


Simon Greenberg, dubbed by the Financial Times as one of the U.K.’s “most effective PR operators,” is now director of corporate affairs at News International, which is the parent company of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers and websites.

NI's holdings include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World. PR had been handled by the individual papers or by a team from News Corp. Europe & Asia, according to the FT.

Greenberg’s appointment comes as allegations swirl about mobile phone hacking of celebrities by News of the World.

Prior to enlisting at NI, Greenberg was chief of staff for Football Assn.’s ill-fated bid to host the 2018 World Cup, which will be played in Russia.

The FT absolves Greenberg for FA’s “disastrous” bid, reporting that World Cup leadership took umbrage at reports of corruption within FIFA.

Earlier, Greenberg was director of communications for top-notch soccer team, Chelsea FC.


Playboy Enterprises announced last week that it has agreed to be taken private by founder Hugh Hefner in a deal worth $207M.

The board nixed a competing offer by FriendFinder, parent company of Playboy's arch-rival, Penthouse.

Hefner, 84, launched Playboy in 1953. Circulation, which peaked at 7.2M in 1972, has been on a steep decline. The company cut its guaranteed rate base from 2.6M to 1.5M last year.

The deal, according to Hefner, enables Playboy to “come full circle, returning to its roots as a private company.” Despite the sales decline, Hefner believes the Playboy brand “resonates today as clearly as at any time in its 57-year history."

Playboy CEO Scott Flanders will remain in the top spot and take an equity investment in the deal. He sees an opportunity to strengthen Playboy's balance sheet, streamline operations and invest in new ventures.

Hefner's $6.15 per-share offer represents an 18.3 percent premium over the stock's Jan. 7 close. Hefner proposed the offer July 10, and a special committee of the board has now determined the buyout is “fair to and in the best interests” of Playboy's stockholders.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 4


Theano Apostolou, senior VP for AMC who guided the PR push that helped “Mad Men” become a hit, has moved to Starz Entertainment as senior VP of corporate communications and program publicity.

Starz, part of Liberty Media and including the Starz and Encore premium channels, is making a push into original programming on the heels of “Spartacus.”

She takes over for Tom Southwick, who retired at the end of last year.
Moving from New York to Los Angeles, Apostolou oversees the premium network’s communications and external affairs, as well as promoting its programming.

She was senior VP of publicity, talent relations and promotional events for AMC, guiding PR for its original series in recent years like “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” in addition to “Mad Men.” She oversaw all consumer press communications for the programming, talent and award consideration campaigns for “Mad Men.”

Prior to AMC, she held posts at AMC parent Rainbow Networks and worked on the agency side at MWW Group, Dan Klores Communications and Ketchum.


Wendell Potter, author of “Deadly Spin,” told a capacity crowd of 200 in New York Jan. 10 that backers of a single-payer health plan must adopt the techniques and strategies of the opponents of such a plan.

Potter, speaking to Physicians for a National Health Program at the Murphy Institute for Education and Labor Studies, said the PNHP must seek allies, get “others” to tell their story, use appeals to basic emotions, and create memorable slogans.

“Special interests have kicked your butt with the skillful use of language,” he told the New York Metro chapter of PNHP. They have been able to “demonize” single-payer, he added.

Politicians, he said, are not going to support such a health plan unless their constituents are in favor of it, he said. He faulted the single-payers for lacking a “long term strategic plan,” something that he said the healthcare insurance industry excels at.

Opponents of single-pay engage in “fear-mongering” by calling it “socialized medicine” and asking why should the U.S. tinker with its health services when it has the best healthcare in the world?

False information is given about healthcare in Canada, he said.

Defeat of Soda Tax Cited

As an example of the power of lobbyists, he cited the recent defeat of attempts to put a tax on sugared drinks.

Such a tax had been proposed in New York by Governor David Paterson when he was in office.

Pepsi, Coke and other groups such as the American Beverage Assn. lobbied heavily against such a tax and won, said Potter.

An early supporter of such a tax, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, “flipped” and “essentially stopped the proposal in its tracks, Albany insiders said,” according to a story in the March 26, 2010 Daily News.

14,000 Physicians in PNHP

The PNHP includes 14,000 physicians and 4,000 medical students and health professionals. It is on a nationwide campaign to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-all program “as the only way to assure high quality, comprehensive care to all Americans and the only way to rein in skyrocketing healthcare costs.”

Dr. Garrett Adams, president, said in a statement that the group rejects the move by Republican leaders to repeal the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

He said the PNHP, based in Chicago, “recognizes the new law is incapable of resolving our healthcare morass.”

The law is “flawed because it continues our nation’s reliance on an inefficient and wasteful private-insurance-based model of financing care—a rickety structure that denies healthcare access to millions, bankrupts patients, ratchets up costs and frustrates efforts to improve quality,” he said.

Adams estimates that Americans would save $400 billion annually by “cutting out the unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy inflicted on us by the private insurers.”

Americans would also gain the one-system bargaining power we need to negotiate lower prices for pharmaceutical drugs and medical supplies,” he added.

Potter said he was disappointed in the new healthcare law because it was not a single-payer plan and lacked the option of a government health plan for those who desired it (“public option”). But he said the flawed plan was better than no plan at all.

New York chair, Dr. Oli Fein, moderated the event.

ACCUWEATHER BANKS ON ‘SNOW DAYS’ is inviting marketers to sponsor “AccuWeather Snow Days,” a localized forecast that provides detailed forecasts and predicts the likelihood of school closures.

The iPhone application is updated every hour and includes a five-point scale on whether or not schools will be closed because of bad weather.

Pascal Racheneur, VP-interactive media at AccuWeather, says advertisers have the opportunity to connect with parents who are checking 24/7 so they can "plan their schedules in advance of school closings."

More than 125M receive weather forecasts from AccuWeather via an array of media.

Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 5


Gibbs & Soell, New York, has named veteran staffers Audra Hession and Stephen Halsey as agency shareholders upon their promotions to senior VPs.

“Audra and Steve have demonstrated their dedication to our agency’s vision and mission for growing our clients' businesses,” said Cos Mallozzi, CEO of Gibbs & Soell.

Hession joined the independent firm in 1999 and is managing director of its New York office. Earlier stints included Revlon and Exxon. Halsey joined in 1998 and leads its digital and social media communications efforts. He is a former chief of staff in the Missouri state legislature and worked on the agency side in Chicago.


Omnicom-owned Washington, D.C.-based public affairs shop Vox Global has opened an Indianapolis office led by agency vet Mike Marker, who handled projects for the firm in Indiana and Kentucky for AT&T.

VOX president Robert Hoopes said the firm sees "a lot of opportunity" in the Indiana capital.

Marker, a former reporter, helped AT&T achieve key legislative and regulatory victories in several Midwest states consulting for Vox and he is credited with playing a lead role in achieving passage of the Indiana Telecom and Video Reform Act.

He was previously with Ruder-Finn and Fleishman-Hillard handling clients like Citibank, McDonald's Corporation and Wisconsin Energy.


Affect Strategies, New York, has aligned with comedy production shop Landline TV to offer its PR clients online video services for social media campaigns.

The two companies have worked together on projects since 2009 for clients like Regus, Absolute Software and Kony Solutions.

Affect said Landline has produced more than 100 sketches for the web, TV and film, and offers professional services for branded content and advertising.

Jared Neumark, president of Brooklyn-based Landline TV, said: "By collaborating with Affect, we can reach new audiences for our videos and add another creative brain to our process."


DKC and Forum Strategies and Communications have collaborated to launch a PR and experiential marketing shop focused on the automotive sector and dubbed Accelerate.

Richard Frisch, president of FS&C, said: "We knew there was a void and we wanted to get in there and fill it because our agencies are well suited to the task."

Services include media relations, interactive social media, experiential marketing, events and content creation, as well as public affairs and policy engagement.

Sean Cassidy, president of DKC, said the partnership leverages DKC's brand and strategic PR experience with Forum's "long history" in the automotive sector.

Jeff Sindone, a former Medialink Worldwide exec who is president of Forum Media, and Liz Anklow, executive VP at DKC, oversee the new venture.



The Phelps Group, Santa Monica, Calif./EZ Lube, chain of 74 company-owned car maintenance shops, for advertising, promotions, social and media rels.

INK, Irvine, Calif./UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, for website redesign at

Bailey Gardiner, San Diego/Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa, to implement a strategic PR plan for the resort's Twenty/20 restaurant and its Ocean Pearl Spa. The firm was also hired by San Diego Magazine to provide support in brand development, web strategy, social media training, and other PR. BG was also tapped by The California Marketing Committee for the California Horse Racing Board as AOR to lead its marketing efforts in increasing awareness about horseracing in the state of California.


BohlsenPR, Indianapolis/Indianapolis Opera, for media relations, PR and publicity for the opera and its events surrounding its 35th season.

Roepke PR, Minneapolis/Phillips Distilling Company, as AOR for PR in 2011 after working with the company on launches in 2010. Brands include Prairie Organic Vodka and Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky.


MassMedia Corporate Communications, Las Vegas/Anthem Pediatric Dentistry; Good Night Pediatrics; Northern Nevada Immunization Coalition, and Mesa View Regional Hospital, for adv., PR and social media.

Mountain West

Fresh Ideas Group, Boulder, Colo./34 Degrees Crispbread, crackers made without oil; pediatrician Alan Greene and his new Project WhiteOut, a non-profit campaign to fight an obesity and allergy epidemic in kids, and Blue Horizon Wild Seafood, wild-caught fish, for PR.

Terra Public Relations, Jackson Hole, Wy./Dahlgren Footwear, for media relations, brand communication, and product placement for the DF brand, established in 1970 as socks for professional athletes intended to stay up throughout games.


360 PR, Boston/National Amusements, movie theaters, for a campaign to blend mass and social media and events highlighting its digital experience at its Showcase, Multiplex and Cinema de Lux theatre locations across the U.S.

Weiss PR Associates, Baltimore/The Traffic Group, traffic engineering and transportation planning, as AOR.

22squared, Atlanta/Costa Rica Tourism Board, for North American advertising, including social and digital media, following a review that involved 30 shops.

TheWall Street Voice, Orlando/EnviroXtract, Pink Sheets-traded, Oklahoma-based company focused on oil extraction technology, for corporate communications, advertising and media.

New York Area

Nourie Johnson Communications, New York/Warren Financial, for brand and marketing comms. as well as all media and investor relations. The firm has also picked up Fogel Neale Partners, Comcast-Spectacor Foundation, and Snider Hockey.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 6


John Haake, global marketing head for media buying platform Turn Inc., has moved to Synaptic Digital in New York as VP of global marketing.

He is former global marketing director for MediaMind, an ad serving and cross-channel marketing platform, and also directed marketing for e-commerce media platform RichFX.

Also, Vidicom vet Sky Hanstein has been hired as director, media relations, charged with expanding Synaptic's reach to journalists and other communicators via

He was media director for Vidicom and a former senior producer/director for DS Simon Productions.


Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication at Penn State University has published transcripts from 38 speeches by PR pioneer Arthur W. Page at

The texts, representing all of Page’s speeches that are known to exist, are indexed by topics and by Page’s seven “principles” of PR.

Marie Hardin, director of the center, sees value in the resource for academics, PR pros and others interested in ethical issues in communications.

“Through the words of Arthur W. Page, one can trace the origins of today’s corporate social responsibility movement and glean advice on ethical, transparent communication that is as relevant today as it was in the 1920s, 30s, ’40s and ’50s when these speeches were given,” she said in a statement.

Page was the first PR pro to serve on the executive management team of a major corporation, AT&T, which he joined in 1927.

BRIEF: Business Wire said it has released a new version of its media monitoring service, NewsTrak Clips, which covers online news, social media, U.S. TV programming and online video. A new digital archive includes clip editing, sharing, sorting and display and its password-protected interface has been enhanced to allow keyword searching and filtering, display of "hits" and article text on one screen, and delivery of clips into individual folders, among other features. ...Oxford Communications, an Alexandria, Va.-based direct marketing agency that works for GOP and conservative clients, has tapped the National Republican Congressional Committee's director of telemarketing as a partner. Brandon Gravley headed telemarketing for the NRCC from 2007-10. Oxford was founded by William Black, former director of development for U.S. English Inc., a group centered on promoting the adoption of English as the official language of the U.S. Clients have included the NRCC, Kasich-Taylor for Ohio and other campaigns.



Aaron Estrada, previously with Trent & Co., Ruder Finn and Cohn & Wolfe, to The Morris + King Company, New York, as an A/S of its healthcare, foundations and life sciences division. Caren Browning was promoted to executive VP and director of the division, as well. She joined in 2006.

Kelley Yoder, marketing manager at Owens-Illinois, and Emily Barry, VP of advancement and recruitment at Kateri Catholic School System, to R/P Marketing PR, Holland, Ohio, as A/Ss. Adam Strizzi, marketing specialist at Owens Corning, and Kate Blyth, comms. specialist for ProMedica Health System, joined as A/Es.

Jose “JB” Tengcom, director of PR and government affairs, Westinghouse Solar, to cleantech PR firm Tigercomm, as VP and head of its new San Francisco office. He also worked in California Democratic politics.

Melissa Grigorieff Koomey, VP of marketing and corporate comms. for biotech company FibroGen., has returned to Burson-Marsteller as managing director and head of its West Coast healthcare practice, based in San Francisco. Previous stints included Pfizer and Novartis.

Jay Mejia, an agency veteran of Nadel Phelan, Access Communications and Saatchi and Saatchi, to The Loughlin/Michaels Group, Sunnyvale, Calif., as director of the firm’s B2B practice. He also was a journalist for ten years for the Des Moines Register, the Washington D.C. bureau for a group of Midwestern newspapers, and a post at the New York Times.


Dan Sabreen to senior manager of communications, CBS Sports, New York. He had been manager of corporate comms. for CBS College Sports Network and will continue to helm the cable network’s media relations efforts, adding responsibilities like the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, among other events.

Rashada Whitehead to president, Flowers Communications Group, Chicago. She re-joined the African-American and Hispanic market-focused agency in 2008 as managing director after a stint as VP at GolinHarris. D. Michelle Flowers Welch is founder and CEO.

Correction: Lori Robinson was promoted to VP, corporate comms., corporate branding and culinary marketing, McCormick and Company, Sparks, Md. She was incorrectly identified as Lisa Robinson in the last issue.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 7


Sitrick and Company has been called in by China Green Agriculture, the Xi'an-based fertilizer company that is the subject of an informal inquiry by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

China Green lists shares on the New York Stock Exchange after “going public” in 2007 in a process known as reverse merger.

The company said through Michael Sitrick that its U.S. legal counsel has provided a report on issues of interest to the Los Angeles office of the SEC in response to an informal inquiry.

The inquiry covers discrepancies between its financial results filed in the U.S. and those filed in China, according to a Chinese news report.

The Street reported that China Green is one of more than a dozen Chinese companies that SEC investigators have shown interest in examining.

The financial news outlet said a research firm, J Capital, released a report last week citing evidence that China Green “vastly inflated” its sales and profit figures reported to investors. In a Jan. 12 statement from Sitrick, the company said “allegations” coming from “admitted short sellers” are “largely inaccurate.”

Bloomberg Businessweek on Jan. 13 published a 4,600-word feature, “Worthless Stocks from China,” on Chinese companies that went public in the U.S. through reverse mergers.

China Green is among several companies being probed for reporting irregularities.

CGA shares were trading around $7.95 on Jan. 14, at the low-end of a 52-week range of $6.81 to $17.00.

Revenue for the year ending June 30, 2010 was $52.1M.


Georgia Godfrey, a communications staffer for the Bush White House recently with Trailblazer Public Affairs in D.C., has been named chief of staff to Condoleezza Rice.

“It will truly be an honor to continue to shape Dr. Rice's brand as well as to support the new and ongoing endeavors in her life,” she said in a statement.

Godfrey, who worked in the White House press office from 2000-05 and later moved to the Commerce Dept. before returning to Pennsylvania Avenue as a senior press advance representative, is relocating to Palo Alto, Calif., for the position.

She also was a strategist for PR firm Outside Eyes and set up Trailblazer when Bush left office.

Rice largely remained out of the spotlight since the Bush administration left office with her as Secretary of State in 2008, but she released an autobiographical memoir in October 2010 and is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, where she was on the faculty during the 1980s and '90s.

She is also booking speaking engagements and will be an early guest with Piers Morgan, who took over Larry King's CNN slot on Jan. 17.


The SEC has charged an investor relations firm executive with advance access to Google’s financials in its mounting insider trading case against hedge fund Galleon.

The SEC said Jan. 10 that it alleges Shammara Hussain, a staffer for San Francisco-based IR firm Market Street Partners, which did work for Google, as well as a senior executive at Polycom tipped inside information that enabled insider trading by two others on behalf of hedge funds for illicit profits of more than $15 million.

“Today’s action reveals disturbingly corrupt arrangements - faithless company executives who secretly pass corporate information to hedge fund managers willing to violate the law for profit,” Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said in a statement announcing charges against four defendents, including Hussain.

The SEC said Hussain tipped an investor and an aquaintance with inside information about Google’s 2007 second quarter earnings. The investor traded on the information and also tipped two other traders who worked on behalf of Trivium Capital Management, a hedge fund advisory firm.

The SEC said Hussain asked for $100-$150K per quarter to provide further information, a charge which her attorney denied in 2009, when her name first surfaced in the case.

Market Street Partners was set up in 2000 by veterans of Morgen-Walke Associates.

The SEC has now charged 27 defendants in the Galleon case.


Allison & Partners’ New York office has picked up AOR duties for B&G Foods, a publicly traded company that includes brands like Cream of Wheat, Ortega and Emeril’s, following a search.

There was no incumbent but ICR handles investor relations and corporate communications for B&G, which had 2009 revenue of $501M and is based in Parsippany, N.J.

Jordan Greenberg, VP of marketing for the company, said A&P will work to introduce its portfolio to new consumers and further engage existing ones through food and nutrition PR, media relations and social media.

A&P is part of MDC Partners.


Montenegro, which split from Serbia in 2006, has tapped Orion Strategies for PR in the U.S. and Europe.

Orion is the firm of Sarah Palin's international advisor Randy Scheunemann, who also counseled John McCain.

Its contract is through The Reffe Group, which is headed by former Clinton White House advance man Paige Reffe.

Orion is to push for Montenegro's membership in the European Union and NATO. It will also communicate news of Montenegro economic and political development here.


Internet Edition, January 19, 2011, Page 8




Threats continue against this writer from a delegate of the PRSA Assembly.

The delegate, who doesn't identify himself and who verbally assaulted and threatened me with physical harm while I was standing in front of the Washington Hilton Oct. 16, 2010, has sent a letter saying he might "beat you to a pulp."

Supposedly, I improperly embraced Society director Marisa Vallbona when she passed by me in the lobby of the hotel that morning.

"If you had put your hands on my wife, or even dared to kiss her…I'd beat you to a pulp," said the all caps anonymous letter.

This is not the husband of Vallbona since she is not married.

The Dec. 18 letter, with a Chicago postmark, added: "Count your blessings. This delegate let you off with a few choice words."

This man, who was about six feet tall with short hair and a light complexion, fled when I asked a nearby hotel doorman to call the police.

Text of Anonymous Note




The reference to a "Flash Mob" is the 20 delegates who tried to place pens in my hand at the Assembly. They are just as cowardly as the author of the letter since they all walked rapidly away, refusing to talk to me or explain what was happening.

A blog by one of them later explained I was being compared to John Nash of the movie, "A Beautiful Mind." A schizophrenic, he was given pens by Princeton faculty members after he won a Nobel Prize.

This "Flash Mob" was designed to go off at a certain time (2:45 p.m.) which happened to be in the middle of an interview I was trying to conduct with Art Stevens, a leader of the move to allow non-APRs to run for the board.

The Flash Mobsters were discourteous, thoughtless and rude. Members were all delegates, supposedly the crème-de-la-crème of the Society.

Yann Says Director Viewed "Altercation"

Society VP-PR Art Yann then said in an e-mail to me that I was in an "altercation" with an Assembly delegate that was witnessed by other delegates and a national director and this was one more instance of bad behavior by me at the Assembly.

If that isn't spin, I don't know what is. Someone attacks me verbally and threatens physical harm and it's an "altercation" that supposedly is just as much my fault.

Vallbona had indicated friendship and support of me for years, including lunching with me in 2006 when she was Universal Accreditation Board chair.

When she passed right in front of me while I was seated in the hotel lobby, I popped up and lightly embraced her as a welcoming gesture. I attempted a kiss of her cheek but it may have just been an air-kiss.

It is common today for people to embrace friends since a handshake can be considered cold and formal.

We had traded 48 e-mails in the previous three months including 23 from her to me.

Vallbona published a comment on the O’Dwyer website Oct. 26, 2010 that it was “not appropriate to grab me and kiss me. That, Jack O'Dwyer, is grounds for assault and battery. But I’m a Southern lady and don't raise a big issue over such things. And for the record, I did mind it and I'm politely asking that you never do it again.”

I doubt any such charges would hold up in any court. Rather, it’s a diversionary tactic to take attention from the real issue – a delegate threatening me with physical harm.

The Society's vendetta against the O'Dwyer Co., forbidding any member of the staff from joining it or allowing any ads in Society media although the Society sold at least 50,000 copies of O'Dwyer articles without permission, has reached its lowest level ever.

A Society committee should look into these new black eyes that it is giving itself-the threats of physical violence against this reporter and the "Flash Mob" that attacked me at the Assembly.

Coverage Was Unethically Blocked

The verbal attack on this reporter was but one of a string of actions designed to frustrate full coverage of a highly important Assembly-one that considered letting non-APRs on the board for the first time in 35 years.

Tens of thousands of words were put on a Society E-group arguing both sides of the issue.

This was a key issue for the more than 80% of members who cannot run for national office.

For the first time ever, the Society banned recording of the Assembly or taking pictures by reporters. This reporter, as usual the only reporter present, was banned from the Assembly lunch when I needed to interview delegates about the defeat of the APR proposal.

An attempt was made to charge three O'Dwyer reporters $3,825 to cover the 2010 conference while reporters for PR News and PR Newser went free.

Allegedly, O’Dwyer staffers went to the 2009 conference but did not cover it.

This was shown to be false but the Society continued to insist on payment for O’Dwyer reporters.

Assembly is "Mystery" Group

Although proclaiming its belief in democracy, the Society does not allow rank-and-file members to know who the Assembly delegates are or what they say. Last published transcript was in 2004.

Individual voting records are unavailable because delegates do not call for roll call votes.

Delegates, trashing the most fundamental of Robert's Rules, used 31 proxy votes in 2010 after using 56 in 2009.

Let's see if the new board that meets later this month will chart a new course for the association that claims to lead the PR industry worldwide.

— Jack O'Dwyer


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