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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - June 13, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 23 (download PDF version)

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Bahrain has hired Sorini Samet & Assocs. to fight a call by the AFL-CIO for the U.S. to withdraw from the five-year-old free trade pact between the two countries because of the Kingdom’s crackdown on protest.

Khalid Bin Ahmed
Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa is Bahrain’s foreign minister.

In April, the AFL-CIO filed a complaint with the Office of Trade & Labor Affairs that called the “ongoing brutal repression of peaceful protest” a violation of the trade pact.

The union believes the U.S. “simply should not provide preferential trade treatment to a country that has and continues to engage in well-documented widespread and serious violations of human rights, including labor rights, of its citizens and residents.”

Separately, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates urging him to speak out against the “armed crackdown on every civil society institution in Bahrain,” which is descending “irreversibly” into dictatorship. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

SS&A is to advise Bahrain on crafting a response to the Labor Dept. complaint and engage Obama Administration officials and Congress on its behalf.

The one-year contract also calls for lining up third-party support for Bahrain from relevant human rights groups, businesses, think tanks and scholars.

SS&A charges Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs fees ranging from $100 to $550 an hour.

Qorvis Communications, via a subcontract with Britain's Bell Pottinger, also works the Bahrain beat. It promotes the Kingdom's commitment to the war against terrorism and peace in the Middle East.

The work was good for nearly $230K in fees for the six-month period ended March 31.


Finn Partners, the Ruder Finn spinoff led by Peter Finn, said it has locked up a major contract with CTIA-The Wireless Association, the top trade group for the mobile communications sector, following an RFP process.


Finn is charged with promoting the group and its two trade shows via PR, public affairs and events support.

The group did not previously work with a firm in the capacity that Finn will handle.

CTIA president and CEO Steve Largent said Finn will tout the U.S. wireless industry and its position as a world leader as the mobile sector and CTIA's membership continues to "evolve."

EVP Christine Bock, who heads the firm's mobile and telecom unit, leads the account. Offices in New York, D.C., Chicago and San Francisco will play a role.


Healthcare firm WCG has hired Tim Marklein, who once headed PR for Hewlett-Packard's $30B enterprise unit, to lead its technology operation and expand the firm's analytics group.

He also served as corporate PR director responsible for guiding HP's communications for its merger with Compaq.

Marklein joins WCG from Weber Shandwick, where he founded its measurement & strategy group.

Jim Weiss, CEO of WCG, says an investment in technology is a natural extension from its life science and healthcare base. He calls healthcare and technology foundational businesses in the global economy. Marklein's combination of technology experience and analytics makes him an "ideal hire" for WCS, added Weiss.

In noting that agency technology practices were largely built during the `80s or `90s, Marklein sees a "rare opportunity to define and build an integrated technology practice of the future without legacy or limitations tailored to the individual needs of our clients."

San Francisco-based WCG ranked No. 6 in O'Dwyer's 2010 ranking of independent firms with $37M in fee income.


Congressman Anthony Weiner is considering hiring a crisis firm in an effort to rebound from his Twitter mess, according to the Wall Street Journal of June 8.

The paper notes that Weiner has been relying on his own instincts to manage the crisis, which “has been badly mismanaged.”

With staffers, the embattled Democrat, who faces an ethics probe and loud calls to resign, arranged the June 6 interview at which he broke down after admitting that he lied and actually did send suggestive photos of himself to various women.

Nobody screened the credentials of people who attended that interview, which featured conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart taking the podium before Weiner's arrival. Breibart's website published the photos of the Queens/Brooklyn Representative.

The Journal suggested that New York PR guru Howard Rubenstein may by contacted by Weiner, but such outreach has not yet to be made.

Weiner says he has no plans of resigning.


Groupon, the rapidly growing deal site headed toward an IPO, has brought in a former Versign and Yahoo corporate communications hand as VP of global communications.

Bradford Williams, who left Verisign in November as VP of worldwide corporate communications, joined Groupon this month. He was previously a communications consultant for and VP of corporate communications at both Yahoo and eBay.

The move comes after the Chicago-based company filed June 2 for an IPO valuing it in the $30B range. It has hired Brunswick to support financial communications and retains SS|PR for media relations work.

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