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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Nov. 14, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 44 (download PDF version)

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Penn State University’s ousted football coach Joe Paterno called in McGinn & Company, formerly TMG Strategies, last week as the academic institution reeled from a child sex abuse scandal centered on a former Paterno assistant coach.

Paterno in 1966

The firm, representing the Paterno family, is led by PR veteran Dan McGinn and has counseled clients like General Motors, Texaco and 3M, specializing in crisis, environmental disasters, and litigation issues.

Before the university’s board of trustees fired him, Paterno, 84, said he would retire at the end of this season after 61 years, following revelations of the abuse scandal alleging a former assistant of Paterno’s, Jerry Sandusky, sexually assaulted at least eight young boys.

“At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status,” Paterno said in a Nov. 9 statement issued via McGinn. “They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.”

He was fired the next day.

McGinn co-founded Ryan-McGinn in 1987 after working on Capitol Hill and sold it to Interpublic in 1998. He started The McGinn Group a few years later.

The firm was acquired by Publicis’ MS&L in 2007 but bought itself out and is again independent.


Chime Communications plans to cut PR staff and take a restructuring charge due to the earlier than anticipated wind-down of Bell Pottinger’s pact with the State Dept. for Iraq and Afghanistan-related communications.

CEO Lord Bell said Chime “continued to trade well in a difficult environment.” He noted that without the

U.S. work, sports marketing now becomes a bigger part of the overall revenue base.

Prior to the restructuring charge, Chime expects 2011 profit to “be in line with both our budgets and market expectations,” said Bell in a statement.

While PR is growing, Bell sees the need to make investments in that sector. Chime will be acquisitive and Bell expects “organic growth from our existing businesses and their expansion into disciplines and geographies in which we do not currently operate.”

Bell, however, said the weak economy will prevent Chime from matching its growth rate of the last few years. Chime’s other PR units include Good Relations, Harvard, Resonate and Search Relations.


Weber Shandwick is promoting Russia’s bid to snag the 2020 World Expo in a competition with bids from Brazil, Dubai, Turkey and Thailand.

Paterno in 1966

The Interpublic unit, which managed the successful five-continent PR campaign that won the 2014 Olympics for Russia’s Sochi, is pushing the Expo’s “open mind” theme that was submitted to Expo officials in Paris on Oct. 28.

Erik Bugulov, the head of Russia’s Expo bid committee, cited Weber Shandwick’s experience “promoting high-profile Russian projects” among reasons for awarding it the account.

Russia is pitching Ekaterinburg, the country’s fourth largest city, as host for the Expo.

Ekaterinburg, which is located in the Ural Mountains, is a major industrial/scientific center and the third biggest transport hub after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Weber Shandwick backed successful Expo bids for Shanghai (2010) and Milan (2015).

The winner of the 2020 Expo will be announced in 2013.


Jon Cunningham, senior VP consumer marketing at Edelman, has moved to MSLGroup’s New York office.

He takes the senior VP personal care post and lead on Procter & Gamble’s global oral care account.

Cunningham reports to Katie McCue, senior VP and global account director for that P&G portfolio.

At Edelman since April 2010, Cunningham was responsible for global PR for Microsoft’s Xbox and spearheaded work on Unilever’s AXE brand in North America.

Earlier, he spent 13 years at Huntsworth’s Red Consultancy both here and in London and did a nearly three-year stint as GM of Red’s New York office.

Tom Super, who led PR and communications for the meatpacking industry, has moved to the National Chicken Council as VP/comms., following the exit of 13-year veteran Richard Lobb. Lobb stepped down as the Council’s chief spokesman in October after 13 years after the installation of new Council chairman Lampkin Butts, president and COO of Sanderson Farms.

Super exits the American Meat Institute as VP of public affairs after three-plus years planning communications, including media relations and social media.

He also led its National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. Janet Riley is senior VP/PA for the AMI.

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