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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Feb. 6, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 6 (download PDF version)

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Visit Florida has engaged Ketchum for its tourism PR account, following an RFP process for the six-figure account.


The tourism entity worked with Ketchum in the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during 2010. M Silver & Associates was its previous agency of record.

VF projects an annual PR budget in the $100-150K range, handling tourism PR, crisis communications and digital PR, among other assignments. The state is planning the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's discovery of Florida next year, as well as an overhaul of its media website.An RFP was released in September.

The Florida Keys are reviewing travel PR with an RFP open through early March. (See pg. 5)


Philadelphia’s Fourth of July festival is on the hunt for an agency to handle PR for the annual bash marketing “America's Birthplace.”

The 11-day Welcome America! festival released an RFP on Jan. 31 for a seven-month contract developing and running media relations, publicity and social media, among other PR tasks.

The event, which landed Wawa Inc. as the top sponsor in 2010, culminates with the largest free concert in the country. Proposals are due Feb. 17. View the RFP:


Hill+Knowlton Strategies CEO Jack Martin, who wants the WPP unit positioned as a leader of the "wisdom business," will spearhead a new corporate advisory group aimed at CEOs and board members.

Joined by Andrew Laurence, global corporate vice chair in London, Martin will advise executives during periods of change driven by opportunities stemming from mergers, restructures, regulation and international expansion.

The founder of Public Strategies Inc. took the helm of H+K Jan. 1, 2011. His new H+K group will deal with new business challenges brought on by the public's increased access to information and the decreased influence of intermediaries to filter that data.

Laurence joined H+K in 1989 and has served as CEO of the EMEA region, regional corporate chief and U.K. CEO.


Huntsworth, which in November warned of the short-notice cancellation of $6M in yearend projects, has announced that it will take a $4.5M reorganization charge in a bid to right the financial ship.

CEO Peter Gummer said his cost-reduction program "has now been largely completed."

Despite a challenging economic environment, Gummer says Huntsworth's "business pipeline is strong" and expects to rebound this year.

The owner of Grayling, Citigate, Red and Huntsworth Health has begun work on business picked up during the second half of 2011 and cut its dependence on "one-off project revenues."

Huntsworth also announced the immediate resignation of CFO Colin Adams after a nine-month stint. The former finance director of publisher Bloomsbury will officially exit on April 30. COO Sally Withey assumes Adams’ duties.

Board members Eugene Beard (former Interpublic vice chairman) and David Puttnam (film producer with credits including "Local Hero," "Chariots of Fire" "The Mission," The Killing Fields," and "Midnight Express") will not stand for re-election at the May 18 annual meeting.


Goldman Sachs is considering former Clinton White House press secretary and PR aide to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to head communications, according to a Bloomberg report.


Jake Siewert, who closed out the Clinton administration as press secretary for its final four months, has been a top advisor to Geithner since stepping down from his post-Clinton role at Alcoa.

Lucas van Praag currently heads global communications for Goldman Sachs, which has been a popular target of the public and media in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Bloomberg cited three sources in reporting 48-yearold Siewert is in talks about a role similar to that of 62year-old van Praag, who is a partner at the bank.

Siewert joined Alcoa in 2001 as VP of global communications and public strategy, handling environmental, health and safety issues for the aluminum giant. He is married to Christine Anderson, who was communications director to ex-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

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