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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Apr. 23, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 17 (download PDF version)

Page 7 Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8


O'Dwyer's Newsletter, Pg. 7 - Apr. 23, 2012

Edelman at Marquette April 20.
Photo: Christian Whitman

“Business must gain the informed consent of constituents, provide value beyond its traditional performance objectives and be held accountable through a new level of transparency,” he said April 20 at Marquette University’s first corporate communications summit.

The CEO of the top independent firm said business should substitute principles-based leadership for rules-based leadership.

“Rather than driving the car next to the guard rail, business needs to operate in the center of the lane-to tune out the high-priced lawyers or brilliant financiers who advise hugging the guard rail to make a bit more money,” he said. “There’s more to gain from a motivated workforce and confident customer base that far outweighs any benefit derived from operating at the edge.”

Edelman urged business to take the lead on issues that are central to their operation and stakeholders.

He gave the firestorm surrounding fracking as an example where energy companies failed to lead, resulting in dozens of stories about pollution of water supplies and laws banning that technique to extract natural gas.

Embrace 'radical transparency'

The Edelman CEO sees the need for companies to embrace “radical transparency" and let the voices of "regular people” be heard.

“Employees in mid- to lower levels of the organization are more credible than the chief executive-and they are out there communicating already,” said Edelman. “Progressive corporations can serve their own best interests by supporting the process, encouraging informed engagement with Twitter or Facebook because that’s where discussions are taking place.”

The corporate communications officer, to Edelman, is the right person to drive the license to lead model: “Gone are the days when senior communications executives could lean toward their CEOs and whisper advice in their ears, then step aside, assured they’d done their job. The CCO must partner now with CEO on both strategy and execution. It needs to be the closest relationship in the corporation.”

Edelman’s dream is that future students will forgo the temptations of Wall Street, consulting and tech start-ups for a career in communications. “CCOs are the future of organizational transformation,” he said. “We’re the next-generation power brokers.”


The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has selected Hill + Knowlton Strategies to handle its effort to bolster national awareness of the Lone Star State’s effort to fight cancer.

In December, Austin-based CPRIT issued an RFP with a $375K budget through the base year to August 2013 and $250K per-year on three option years.

The four-year-old program cancelled an earlier search in 2011 due to budget constraints.

Established after a statewide vote, the Institute is charged with investing up to $3B for cancer research programs in Texas. The goal is to expedite innovation and commercialize promising research.


The firm of former Connecticut Congressman Toby Moffett has inked a “strategic services subcontract” with Whitaker Group to provide counsel to Malawi, a business that it signed up earlier this month.

The Moffett Group will work to build Washington partnerships to advance the economic and social goals of that southern African nation, according to the pact.

The agreement remains in effect in the event that TMG is merged or consolidated with another firm as long as Moffett remains “principally responsible” for the representation of Malawi.

Moffett was part of the PLM Group combination with Tony Podesta’s Podesta Group and Bob Livingston’s Livingston Group that worked on the lucrative $1.1M a-year Egyptian account.

Egypt’s new government ended that four-year relationship in January.


Human Genome Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline have brought in PR counsel as Glaxo pursues a $2.6B hostile bid for the biotechnology company and longtime drug development partner.

HGS, based in Rockville, Md., has engaged Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher to support its PR strategy under VP of corporate comms. Jerry Parrott. The company went public April 19 in announcing and rejecting Glaxo’s $13-per-share offer. It has engaged legal counsel and financial advisors to explore “strategic alternatives in the best interest of shareholders.”

Glaxo and HGS have collaborated for two decades on several drugs including the lupus drug Benlysta.

U.K.-based Glaxo brought in Sard Verbinnen & Co. to support its U.S. PR. After HGS revealed the Glaxo bid on Thursday, Glaxo confirmed its unsolicited offer made April 11, which CEO Sir Andrew Witty described as the “evolution” of the relationship reflecting the “full and fair value” of HGS. The company is playing up the bid as an 81 percent premium on HGS shares.

“We are disappointed that Human Genome Sciences has rejected our offer without discussion and are confident that our offer is in the best interest of shareholders of both companies,” Witty said.

SV&C CEO George Sard heads the firm’s work for Glaxo while JFWBK CEO Joele Frank leads her firm’s team for HGS.

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