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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - May 31, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 21 (download PDF version)

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will work with Edelman to gauge the perception of its brand ahead of the business lobby’s 100th anniversary next year.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce logo

J.P. Fielder, director of U.S. media relations for the Chamber, confirmed that Edelman won a competitive review, which this NL reported in March involved an RFP process with a handful of firms.

The Chamber isundergoing a PR shift of sorts with the exit of its VP of communications and strategy last month, Tita Freeman, a former Google D.C. hand who left for the Nation Retail Federation.

The group in March hired House Speaker John Boehner’s digital media director, Nick Shaper, for a top slot overseeing digital strategic communications. He was previously director of Congressional Affairs for Adfero Group in D.C., which has worked with the Chamber, and started out on the Hill.

The Chamber was formed in 1912 after a call by President Howard Taft for a central group to keep business interests in touch and “American interests in closer touch with different phases of commercial affairs.”

The group represents three million businesses and was the top lobbying spender last year with $132.1M in outlays, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.


Becky Lauer, who spent the last 11 years at MSLGroup as senior VP and director of broadcast media/global health, has moved to GCI Health.


Her new title is senior VP and director of media.

Wendy Lund, GCI Health CEO and MSL alum, praised Lauer as a “seasoned media guru respected by reporters and producers across the industry.”

At MSL, Lauer handled strategic counsel and media relations for FDA hearings, drug approvals and crisis management for clients such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech, Philips, Bayer and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

In a 20-year media career, Lauer was producer for CNN, Fox News and CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

GCI Health is part of WPP, while Publicis Groupe owns MSLGroup.


May 31, 2011 Vol. 44 No. 21 Ruder Finn Group is spinning off Finn Partners as a separate unit under Peter Finn later this year.


Currently, he shares Co-CEO duties at Ruder Finn Inc. with his sister, Kathy Bloomgarden. Ruder Finn spun off RF|Binder Partners in 2001 under Amy Binder, sister of Peter and Kathy.

As founder and managing partner of Finn Partners, Finn will preside over 160 staffers and $25M in fees. RFG generated $97M in 2010 fees and employed 602 at yearend.

Finn Partners will be housed in RFG’s New York headquarters and move into Ruder Finn Inc. offices in Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Israel.

Finn expects the new venture will thrive in an era in which “innovation and partnership will be strong drivers of the brand.” He has targeted digital/social media, consumer, technology, travel/economic development, corporate and the arts as areas of development.


D.C. PR counselor Marina Ein is working with the legal team of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is under house arrest on sexual assault charges in New York.

William Taylor III of Zuckerman Spaeder in the capital and New York criminal defense attorney Benjamin Brafman are Strauss-Kahn’s legal reps.

“We have a long-standing relationship with William

W. Taylor III, Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attorney and we have been assisting Mr. Taylor in managing the process aspect of responding to media inquiries and issuing statements via newswires,” she told O’Dwyer’s.

Ein, who worked PR for former Rep. Gary Condit during the media frenzy amid the disappearance of aide Chandra Levy in 2001, runs an eponymous shop in D.C.

She shot down reports that DSK’s legal team has been in contact with his accuser or her family. “Reports that Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys or representatives are in contact with the complaining witness or her family are false,” she said in a statement on behalf of Taylor.

Ein worked the 2004 release of Doubleday’s incendiary “The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty” by Kitty Kelly ahead of the presidential election that year.

Reuters reported May 23 that Strauss-Kahn’s legal team has reached out to D.C.-based TD International, a business consulting firm run by former CIA operatives, for counsel, as well.

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