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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Nov. 5, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 44 (download PDF version)

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Ketchum has picked up the MasterCard USA PR/corporate communications programming in a competitive pitch that included incumbent Weber Shandwick.

WS, which is part of Interpublic, will continue its work overseas for the financial services giant that boasts of handling more than 23B transactions a year.

MasterCard's PR roster includes APCO Worldwide for issues management; Cohn & Wolfe, digital/social, and Taylor, consumer work.

Non-roster independents Edelman and Ruder Finn also were in the pitch mix for MasterCard.

Andrew Bowins heads MasterCard's worldwide communications effort. He told that Ketchum will “help build program frameworks, shape strategy and develop content and engagement models across channels.”

Ketchum, which is an arm of Omnicom, worked for MasterCard's arch-rival, Visa, in the past.


Next Fifteen Group is delaying release of its full-year financials after uncovering an alleged fraud scheme in its Bite Communications unit.

The British-based holding company (Text 100, M Booth and Outcast Agency) issued a statement that calls it a “victim of a complex fraud involving a senior member of the finance team in its Bite North American subsidiary.”

Next Fifteen has notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is working with auditor BDO and private investigator Kroll to carry out a full forensic probe of the matter.

That investigation is to run for at least a month. The financials were slated for a Nov. 6 release.

Next Fifteen believes the alleged fraud is an isolated incident of personal embezzlement, rather than an accounting irregularity.

The firm said it will ultimately release financial results that are in line with market expectations.


Patton Boggs has inked a $50K monthly retainer pact to promote the image of Lebanon’s banking system,which faces U.S. pressure due to alleged ties with terror groups and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The move follows the U.S. Treasury Dept.’sFebruary designation of Lebanese Canadian Bank as a“primary money laundering concern,” charged with channeling funds to Hezbollah.

Lebanon’s press reports that Neal Steven Wolin,Treasury’s deputy secretary; Dan Glaser, assistant secretary for terrorist financing, and David Cohen, under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, are frequent visitors to Beirut.

PB’s one-year pact is with Banque du Liban, the country’s central bank. The goal is the “promotion of the image of Lebanese banking before the U.S. Congress and Administration.”

The firm will determine its fee based on the standard billing rate of the Lebanon lobbying team. That unit is led by Tommy Boggs, who bills at the $990 hourly rate.

He’s assisted by Larry Harris (who was MCICommunications’ liaison to ATT/FederalCommunications Commission and leader of its landmark antitrust fight bills at $960 an hour), Caffey Norman($750 per-hour for the veteran of the BCCI scandal) andGraham Wisner $660 hour for corporate lobbying veteran of the U.S./India nuke pact).


Boston's Denterlein has acquired Morrissey & Co.,the firm of the late Peter Morrissey who died of brain cancer in August at the age of 59. He founded M&C in 1999.

Geri Denterlein is the former communications director for the Massachusetts Dept. of Health and assistant press secretary for Governor Mike Dukakis.

Her firm has serviced healthcare (Lowell GeneralHospital, Tufts Health Plan) and financial services (FederalHome Loan Bank of Boston, Sovereign Bank) clients.

The combined firm haas a staff of about 20.


Democratic political operative Joe Trippi is representing the last two Kuwait detainees held by the U.S. at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison complex.

As consultant to Potomac Square Group, Trippi isto have input on its “strategic communications” campaign to achieve the “repariation of the two remainingKuwaiti detainees.”

The effort is funded by International CounselBureau, the London lawyer firm hired by the families of the prisoners.

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