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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - April 25, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 16 (download PDF version)

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ATSDR logo

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention focused on environmental health and toxic substances is reaching out to PR and advertising agencies for input on mounting rapid communications responses to issues, specifically asbestos, a precursor to a possible RFP.

A detailed “sources sought” request by the National Center for Environmental Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said the call for interested agencies could precede a solicitation for pitches or be used for informational purposes in PR planning by the federal agency.

The request, however, includes many details of an RFP and asks for input on PR assignments like plans for developing Q&A messaging for asbestos-related communication, fact sheets and backrounders, media distribution and planning, press event logistics, and other PR-related tasks.

The NCEH does health studies and other investigations at hazardous waste sites like Superfund locations. “Issues at such sites often arise suddenly in response to emerging science, news events and or new information presented,” says a copy of the document issued April 13 to PR and ad agencies.

It notes an “urgent need to have in place response mechanisms to address public concerns” arising from such issues.

The request is open under federal procurement rules to agencies eligible to pursue federal contracts.

Responses to the request are due by April 29.


Unisys logo

Lewis PR has won an RFP review for IT giant Unisys’ U.S. corporate PR account.

The San Francisco-based firm, as AOR for the U.S., said it will work with the Unisys corporate PR team to highlight thought leaders, products and services in traditional and new media.

The federal government market will also be a focus.

Weber Shandwick was the incumbent, handling the account since 2008.

Jim Kerr, VP of global PR and regional communications for Unisys, said of the hire: “We want to make sure the world knows the kind of work we’re doing.”

Unisys, based in Blue Bell, Pa., had revenue topping $4B in 2010.


Interpublic CEO Michael Roth enjoyed a 60 percent surge in 2010 total compensation to $10.2M as the financial turnaround of the once-troubled ad/PR combine picks up steam. IPG recorded a 96 percent rise in 2010 net to $281M on an 8.7 percent revenue rise to $6.5B.


The bulk of Roth’s financial gain stems from the rise in value of stock awards from $1.7M in 2009 to $3.3M last year. Non-equity incentive plan comp jumped from $1.5M to $3.4M. Roth’s base salary remained at the $1.4M mark, according to IPG’s proxy.

Frank Mergenthaler, executive VP and chief financial officer, registered a 63 percent jump in overall comp to $4M, while Philippe Krakowsky’s package rose 60 percent to $3M.

IPG’s compensation committee of the board gave Roth a “very good” rating for a strong 2010 operating performance, while Mergenthaler and Krakowsky got “exceptional” scores.


Burson-Marsteller has picked up a $1.5M piece of business from Poland as that country is slated to helm the EU presidency in July, according to the EUObserver.

The WPP unit is to help Polish officials brush up on media relations skills, arrange press trips, monitor global coverage and organize cultural events.

Polish Flag

B-M’s offices in Warsaw and Brussels will coordinate the activities. They will focus on logistics and PR “nuts and bolts,” rather than promoting the political policies of Poland and its Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The presidency offers Poland a high-profile platform to counter “anti-Eastern European snobbery” held by Western European members of the EU, such as France.

B-M is to be paid by funds from the EU, which set aside money for the Polish presidency in 2004 when Poland joined the EU.

The $150M presidency budget will support more than 100 additional staffers for the Polish Embassy to the EU in Brussels.

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