CASH-STRAPPED CYPRUS INKS $1.1M PR PACT
Cyprus, which Merrill Lynch says may be the first country to exit the Eurozone, has signed Podesta Group to a $1.1M one-year contract to improve its image in the U.S.
The Cypriot banking sector is on the verge of collapse, triggering protracted bailout negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and European Union.
Cyprus is slated to hold presidential elections in February. Current left-wing president Demetris Christofias has announced that he will not seek re-election.
Podesta Group’s $90K a month retainer contract calls for working the Obama administration, Congress, think tanks, universities, media, and grassroots groups on behalf of Cyprus.
The firm’s Cypriot government relations team is headed by Tony Podesta and Stephen Rademaker, former Assistant Secretary of State and Policy Director for then-Majority Leader Bill Frist.
PG also has a five-member communications unit, which is led by former Washington Post foreign correspondent John Ward Anderson, working the account.
U.S. BISHOPS MOVE TO BOLSTER PR
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, under pressure to reform after Catholic voters bucked the bishops’ criticism of the Obama administration in this month's election, has moved to shore up its PR efforts.
At the Conference’s General Assembly in Baltimore Nov. 14, bishops voted 202-25 to hire a director of public affairs as part of a reorganization of its communications unit.
New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the Conference, said the new post will be aimed to develop a more “international, focused, comprehensive and unified communications strategy.”
The director will be empowered to speak on behalf of the bishops to the media, he added, noting the position with work with the secretary of communications, Helen Osman, as well as Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, general secretary.
The Conference-owned Catholic News Service, part of its PR department, said the cost of the PR revamp is around $400K a year, compared with the group’s $220M annual budget.
SHAKY EUROPE BATTERS HUNTSWORTH
Poor economic conditions in Europe battered London-based Huntsworth as third-quarter revenues declined 3.6 percent compared to a seven percent growth spurt a year ago, according to financials that it released Nov. 15.
Flagship Grayling, which generates the bulk of its revenues in the U.K. and the Continent, suffered a 7.6 percent revenue decline, while financial communications specialist Citigate Dewe Rogerson suffered a 17.2 percent revenue plunge.
Huntsworth Health and Red consumer shop bucked the downturn, reporting revenues upswings of 6.8 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.
Overall, Huntsworth CEO Peter Chadlington expects full-year profit to be ahead of last year, though “at the lower end of market expectations.”