OGILVY, CALIF. RAIL SET TO PART WAYS
Ogilvy PR Worldwide and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are set to part ways after less than two years on a four-year, $9M PR contract.
Michael Law, managing director of Ogilvy's West Coast operation, said in a letter to the rail authority that the firm was unable to develop a solid working relationship with the state agency “and that impeded the kind of top-notch work we are accustomed to providing our clients.”
Former authority board member and state senator Quentin Kopp earlier this year urged officials to cancel the PR contract because of public criticism of the $45B rail project, which aims to build high-speed rail lines between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The rail authority account had a tumultuous start in 2009. Ogilvy beat Porter Novelli in November of that year after Mercury Public Affairs won an initial RFP but quit the pact amid media pressure over its ties to the Schwarzenegger administration.
Ogilvy had billed more than $2M through February 2011, the first year of the expected four and a half-year contract. That work has included an overhaul of the authority’s website, drafting statewide distribution materials, reaching out to elected officials and community leaders, and producing hundreds of outreach meetings. The work has extended from Sacramento to D.C.
The PR contract is expected to be discussed at a meeting of the authority's board this month.
EX-GM PR CHIEF DRIVES TO H&K
Chris Preuss, one-time executive VP-global communications at General Motors and president of its OnStar telematics unit, has joined Hill & Knowlton.
As part of WPP auto team in Dearborn, Preuss will work on WPP's Ford Motor's PR team, while developing a global transportation practice for H&K.
Preuss led GM’s communications effort during its bankruptcy, U.S. bailout and global restructuring that set the stage for the automaker's comeback.
Ken Luce, global COO of H&K, called Preuss a “major addition to our team” that will “strengthen our stance as a truly global partner with Ford.”
In his 13 years at GM, Preuss was VP-Europe communications, executive director of global product and brand, director of government affairs and technology communications and director of Cadillac communications. He also worked at Chrysler and headed auto accounts at GolinHarris, MSLGroup and Campbell & Co.