Crisis Management

The Enron Blame Game

A subtle blame game may be developing between two former executives most widely suspected of playing key roles in Enron Corp.'s collapse. Former Chief Executive Jeff Skilling and ousted Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow have both made carefully controlled media appearances in the company of the attorneys representing them in scores of civil lawsuits and government inquiries extending all the way to Congress. In both instances, the men or their lawyers distanced themselves from blame, suggesting others were responsible.

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Tyson Hires Golin

The Golin/Harris PR firm is helping longtime client Tyson Foods with a new public relations challenge as the company faces an indictment that alleges it conspired to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border to work in its processing plants. Tyson has a history of labor violations, including illegal use of child labor, which led to the death of a 15-year-old boy in 1999.

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Giuliani Eyes Crisis Communications

Outgoing New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani may open his own high-end consulting firm. New York Daily News reports that Giuliani and 15 members of his administration are part of the start-up business plan. PR Week reports that NY public affairs academics and industry insiders are praising Giulianiis potential move to crisis consulting.

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Edelman Helps Stop the Bleeding at Red Cross

The American Red Cross has hired the Edelman PR firm and the firm of Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates to handle criticism that arose when the Red Cross revealed that it only planned to give out $300 of the $560 million-plus dollars collected for victims' families of the assaults on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

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Paris Demonstrators Confront Corporate Greenwashers

The following news release is from the Alliance for a Corporate-Free United Nations: "At 8.30 this morning in Paris, France, activists from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Denmark, Nigeria and Spain gathered outside the headquarters of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris to protest against the first meeting of the Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) group.

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PR Newswire Opens Wires

PR Newswire opened its wires to companies whose crisis communications plans were activated by the attacks on the World Trade Center as a public service. The newswire sent out an e-mail to members at approximately 11a.m. The message read: "For PR Newswire members whose crisis communication plan has been activated by today's World Trade Center and Washington, D.C.

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You Too Can Be a PR Wizard

The Minneapolis weekly newspaper City Pages offers readers 13 Secrets of Crisis Management based on Allina Health System documents made public by Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch. The documents, stamped "trade secret" and "attorney client privileged," outline the tactics employed by crisis management consultants employed by Allina. The health care company is being investigate by Hatch for abusing its "nonprofit" status, spending too much money on corporate perks and PR consultants.

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FitzGerald Moves From High-Tech to Corporate "Messes"

FitzGerald Communications, which rode the high-tech wave, has established a "special situations" group to handle corporate messes such as accounting irregularities, management shake-ups, class action suits and bankruptcies. The unit is headed by Nicole Russell, a former employee of Hill and Knowlton, where she served as spokesperson for Sunbeam during the "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap days and Cendant, victim of the largest accounting fraud in history.

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Hell is for Heroes

This CNN interview with Bob Druckenmiller, CEO of the Porter Novelli PR firm, gives his thoughts on PR aspects of the Ford/Firestone tire fiasco. "It could be a public relations firm's dream. I mean, you've got a chance to go in and be a hero, and there's very little downside," observed the CNN interviewer. Druckenmiller replied: "True. I think any crisis is an opportunity, both for a public relations firm and for a company to be a hero in terms of how they react to it."

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