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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Jul. 23, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 29 (download PDF version)

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Burson-Marsteller has replaced CEO Mark Penn with vice chair Donald Baer, as Hillary Clinton’s former campaign strategist exits one of PR’s highest profile agencies for a role with Microsoft.

Baer, Penn
Baer, Penn

Jernstedt was CEO and chairman at GolinHarris in 26 years at the firm and later a senior partner at Fleishman-Hillard, where he has been a consultant during the past year through his firm, The Jernstedt Company.

The 58-year-old Penn was named CEO in 2005 and will take a role as corporate VP of strategic and special projects at Microsoft, where he has advised

top brass since 1998.

Baer, 57 and a former Clinton White House communications aide, has been at WPP-owned B-M since 2008, serving as worldwide vice chairman and chief strategy officer, overseeing work for several top clients of the firm. He also chaired B-M’s Penn Schoen Berland unit, founded by Penn, who called Baer a “trusted adviser.”

Baer was communications director for President Bill Clinton from 1994-98 before moving into the private sector as senior VP for strategy and development of Discovery Communications. He started out as a media lawyer in New York and moved into journalism, including stints at U.S. News and World Report and The American Lawyer.

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said in a statement that he is confident the firm’s “track record of success” and reputation in the industry will continue under Baer.


Iowa's economic development engine is looking to grow its PR capabilities as it reaches out to agencies for a communications plan.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority released an RFP July 19 calling for pitches to develop a plan for media relations (regional, trade, national and international) and PR tactics like content development to support its marketing of the state to business.

Marketing and communications director Tina Hoffman said the IEDA previously had Burson-Marsteller handling marketing and PR but in July shifted to a local firm for marketing and creative— ZLRIgnition—and decided to separate out the PR functions.

Key audiences are site selection consultants and business leaders in sectors like biosciences, IT, renewable energy and advanced manufacturing. PR budget is capped at $750K annually. A one-year contract with a year-long option is slated to start in September.

Proposals are due Aug 3. RFP:


Brown Lloyd James has scooped up a $30K a month contract to support the Washington embassy of Ecuador, which is ruled by leftist president Rafael Correa.

Correa, who is up for re-election next year, is currently deciding whether to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy, to avoid deportation to Sweden to face prosecution of a sex charges case.


The Guardian noted last month that Assange's bid for openness stands in sharp contrast to Ecuador’s free speech record, which has been panned by Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists and Amnesty International.

Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of HRW’s America’s division, believes only Cuba tops Ecuador when it comes having a lousy free speech record in the region.

BLJ’s handles grassroots outreach, media relations, research/analysis, strategic counsel and event management services to the embassy.

The PR firm is still taking media hits for past work for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. The New York


Omnicom reported a 2.8 percent rise in Q2 net income to $282.7M on a 2.1 percent advance in revenues to $3.6B.

Its Fleishman-Hillard and Ketchum-dominated PR group rose 2.2 percent to $322.2M during the period.

That performance trailed the 3.4 percent rise in advertising revenues to $1.7B, but topped the 2.1 rise in CRM revenues to $1.3B and the 5.7 percent decline to $260.5M for OMC’s specialty sector.

The auto group showed the biggest growth rate, up 20 percent. That was followed by retail (+12.7 percent), consumer products (+7.0 percent) and technology (+4.5 percent).

Sector laggards were telecom (-9.9 percent), travel and entertainment (-6.1 percent) and financial services (-3.1 percent).

BCEO John Wren shelled out $113.2M for acquisition outlays so far this year. His second-quarter deals were for London-based Portland PR firm and adam&eve marketing services outfit.




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