SEATTLE: Heidi Sinclair, chief communications officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is stepping down at the end of the month. Sinclair told PRWeek she is leaving the foundation to start her own consultancy. The firm, which has yet to be named, will work with corporations, foundations, and individuals to create strategies for social impact, she said. Sinclair previously worked at Burson-Marsteller, where she was CEO of EMEA. Her replacement at the Gates Foundation has not yet been named.
PCA hires strategic comms firms
LYNCHBURG, VA: Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) retained Rotenberg Associates in late January through one of its law firms, said Amy Rotenberg, president of the Minneapolis, MN-based strategic communications firm. She declined to say the name of the law firm but added that Rotenberg Associates’ role is to provide media relations, serve as a spokesperson, and meld the legal and communications strategies for the company. PCA had previously hired Burson-Marsteller to assist it with the product recall for a two-week period, stopped working with the company on January 30, said George Clarke, director of crisis and issues management at Burson. PCA peanut butter and peanut products have been identified as the source of an ongoing salmonella outbreak, which might be linked to eight deaths and more than 600 sicknesses.
SACRAMENTO, CA: The California Department of Conservation issued an RFP for an agency to conduct communications for its beverage container recycling program. The year-long account, which commences July 1, has a budget of $5 million and includes an option to extend the contract for two one-year periods. The RFP was issued on January 5, and it is expected to be awarded May 1. The effort includes behavioral and social marketing, advertising, consumer research, and development of partnerships with outside entities. According to Conservation Department documents, a number of large agencies attended a January 14 mandatory bidders’ conference, including Burson-Marsteller, Edelman, GolinHarris, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy, Cohn & Wolfe, MWW Group, Fleishman-Hillard, and Porter Novelli.
WASHINGTON: Gibraltar Associates hired Edward Hoover, a former manager of public affairs at Burson-Marsteller, as VP, effective January 2. Hoover, who reports to Jim Lake, president of the public affairs firm, will focus on strategic client counsel and issues management. It is a new position.
LYNCHBURG, VA: Peanut Corporation of America, the peanut product manufacturer at the center of the ongoing national salmonella , hired Burson-Marsteller for communications support. It will help the company with the product recalls, said George Clarke, director of crisis and issues management at Burson.
Burson opens ‘Product Integrity Practice’
NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller launched a new practice within its Issues and Crisis Group (ICG) that will focus on product-related issues and crises such as recalls, as well as regulatory communications and stakeholder engagement. The Product Integrity Practice will be led from Washington by the former head of communications at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Julie Vallese. As MD of the new practice, Vallese will be responsible for growing the new specialty. She will leave her CPSC post as director of the Office of Information and Public Affairs January 16. Her past experience also includes work as a CNN correspondent covering consumer issues.
NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller ended a relationship with the ruling party of Pakistan in March, an agency source confirmed. Politico first reported the news December 29. The source confirmed the accuracy of the outlet’s report, including that the agency is in the process of filing government paperwork to disclose the end of the account.
Cooney/Waters hires Jackson as VP
NEW YORK: Cooney/Waters, a healthcare PR and PA firm, hired Julia Jackson as VP, effective November 3. Jackson, a former member of Burson-Marsteller’s health and wellness practice, reports to Lisa Weiss, EVP at the agency.
Sony Ericsson selects Burson AOR for North America
NEW YORK: Sony Ericsson (SE) has named Burson-Marsteller its AOR for North America. Burson will be tasked with promoting all of the mobile handset provider’s major product launches, sponsorships, and brand initiatives including CES and the Sony Ericsson Open. Last year, SE selected Burson as its global AOR to centralize its PR function. The company’s former North American AOR was GolinHarris.
Greenberg appointed MD of Burson’s corporate practice
NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller named Marco Greenberg MD of its corporate practice. Greenberg will lead the firm’s reputation management efforts, building on its existing capabilities, driving new business, and running client relationships. Greenberg founded Reel Biography, a digital video branding company that produced digital profiles for clients including Washington Mutual and The New York Times. Greenberg will report to Andrew Goldberg, US chair of the corporate practice.
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