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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Oct. 09, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 40 (download PDF version)

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Invest Atlanta, the economic development entity for the city, is reviewing its six-figure PR account as its contract with Finn Partners winds down.

Officials from Invest Atlanta and local tech companies rang the Nasdaq opening bell on March 9.

IA released an RFP on Sept. 28 calling for pitches through Oct. 10.

Twelve firms submitted proposals for the account in a competitive review last fall. Finn Partners has worked with Atlanta-based Wilbert News Strategies, which handles local program research.

IA wants a firm to develop and execute a strategic PR program support for its three goals – distinguishing Atlanta among investors and the public, promoting IA's services to companies and organizations, and creating a wider understanding of the authority.

Bill Cronin, VP for IA who is handling the review, said Finn's contract expires in November.


Paul Fitzhenry, VP of corporate communications for Tyco International, joined Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on Oct. 8 as its chief communications officer.


Fitzhenry, 53, who takes a senior VP, global comms. title, moved to Tyco in 2007 from Pfizer as the then-$41B conglomerate reorganized after a split into three companies. He oversees global comms., as well as operations of Goodyear's iconic airships.

Ed Markey continues as VP, corporate comms., for Goodyear.

Fitzhenry started out as a reporter in Toronto before moving to PR. Earlier stints included The Upjohn Company and Pharmacia with postings in U.S., Canada and Europe.

Roger Rydell, VP of global business communication for Goodyear, left in February to head marketing and communications for Parallon Business Solutions in Nashville. Christopher Curran heads comms. and PR as a VP for its North American tire business.

Goodyear, based in Akron, Ohio, had 2011 revenue of $22.8B.


Facebook VP of global communications Joe Lockhart is stepping down a year and a half after moving to the social network.


Reports noted Lockhart’s desire to stay on the East Coast played a role in his exit from the Palo Alto-based company.

Lockhart, a White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton, founded PR and public affairs shop Glover Park Group, which was acquired by WPP last November. The firm has major operations in New York and Washington.

Glover Park has done work for Facebook. A FB spokeswoman suggested the company could still work with Lockhart after his exit.

Lockhart joined Facebook in July 2011 to oversee its corporate, policy and international comms. teams after the company was reportedly considering Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs for the slot.

Elliott Schrage, an attorney and Google vet, heads corporate communications and public policy for Facebook.


Fremont, Calif., has tapped San Jose-based The Hoffman Agency to mount a PR strategy to burnish its image as a “first-class, business-friendly Silicon Valley city.”

The contract, approved Oct. 2, outlines a $195K budget for the first year with three year-long options at $120K each. Its main two tenets are PR and digital push to create a standalone website on the city’s business proposition.

The city, the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest suburb and which sees itself as a “strong player” in Silicon Valley, said in a June RFP that it wanted to “communicate a positive impression” and position Freemont as part of the Valley. That includes connecting officials to “the fabric of Silicon Valley,” according to its contract.

Seven firms pitched and Hoffman emerged from a group of four finalists.

Freemont was the home of the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra. Its factory in the city was purchased by Seagate in August.

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