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

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A presidential commission established in 2009 to advise the White House on bioethical issues is reaching out for PR support for public meetings and the release of reports.


The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, established by executive order by President Obama in November 2009, is currently engaged in three key issues: privacy of human genome sequence data, development of medical countermeasures for children, and neuroscience and related ethical issues.

The group of presidential appointees draws from backgrounds in law, science, engineering and bioethics, among other fields and meets quarterly.

The commission, via RFP, seeks a PR contractor to advise its executive director and communications director on media relations, talking points, digital communications and other endeavors.

A one-year contract with two option years is expected through the Dept. of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Md.

The commission is also currently accepting applications for a communications assistant position.

Proposals are due Aug. 15. RFP:


Procter & Gamble is reportedly mulling outside PR help as the consumer goods giant is targeted by activist investor Bill Ackman.

Ackman, via his Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund, set off an investor flurry on July 13 that drove up P&G shares after he disclosed a stake in the company.

P&G, which has been struggling and laid out $10 billion in planned cuts earlier this year, could be spurred into bigger changes with the activist Ackman ratcheting up pressure, according to reports. P&G brands include Gillette, Tide, Pringles and Duracell.

Bloomberg said July 16 that P&G has spoken to financial and communications advisors about handling Ackman's play.

When Ackman staged and ultimately won a proxy fight with Canadian Pacific Railway in May, the transcontinental railway operator brought in New York-based Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher for PR counsel.

Joele Frank also aided retailer Target in its successful proxy fight against Ackman in 2009.

P&G has declined to comment on whether it has sought outside help. Director of external relations Paul Fox told Bloomberg the company will not comment on “wild rumor and speculation.”

Ackman’s Pershing Square works with New York-based strategic communications firm Global Strategy Group.


Nestlé USA, home to iconic food brands like Gerber, Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine, has brought in Waggener Edstrom’s Hannah Coan for a top corporate and brand affairs role, following the retirement of longtime VP Laurie MacDonald.


MacDonald exits the $10B packaged foods giant after 27 years. Scott Remy, an ad agency vet, is chief communications officer.

Coan, who takes a VP title at Glendale, Calif.-based Nestlé, was a senior VP at WaggEd leading its PR work for Microsoft’s Office division. She was previously an executive VP for Publicis Consultants PR in Seattle, where she handled the Nestle account that included brands like Lean Cuisine, Mighty Dog and Gerber.

Coan leads internal and external communications, public affairs and oversees the company's Culinary Center.

Other Nestlé brands include Toll House, Juicy Juice and Dreyer’s/Edy’s ice cream.

Swiss parent Nestle S.A. had 2011 sales of $94 billion.


Peter Marino, president of the PR operation of Minneapolis marketing communications firm Olson, is moving in-house at MillerCoors in the new post of VP, communications.

Marino, who had consulted for Miller Brewing and handled MillerCoors as a client at Olson, founded Dig Communications in 2004, building the PR firm up to 50 staffers and five offices before it was acquired by Olson in 2010.

MC, based in Chicago, was formed by the 2008 merger of beer giants Miller Brewing and SABMiller.

Neil Horton, former senior VP of comms. and government affairs for Miller Brewing, is chief public affairs and communications officer at MC.


APCO Worldwide’s Chicago office received a $10K payment from a legal defense fund for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in May, according to campaign finance records.

The payment, which came weeks after Walker won a contentious recall election in the Badger State, came from the Scott Walker Trust and was made alongside other outlays to law firms totaling more than $155K.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which highlighted the filing, said the trust is a fund created to pay Walker's legal expenses associated with a three-year-old investigation by the Milwaukee County district attorney into former Walker aides when he was the county's executive.

Tilden Katz, an attorney who heads APCO’s Chicago office, and an APCO spokeswoman did not return inquiries from O’Dwyer’s.

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