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Posts Tagged ‘Costa Concordia’

Corporate Execs in the Hot Seat, Getting Burned

Photo: Pier Paolo Cito/AP

Smells like bacon? Oh, that’s just the aroma of corporate leaders getting burned by bad press, crisis situations, and business downturns. It’s not anything new necessarily, but three’s a trend so why not take a closer look at three recent cases, shall we?

First we have the case of the quiet CEO — Mickey Arison, CEO of Carnival, which owns the Costa Concordia, the ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy on January 13 killing, at last count, 13 people. Pier Luigi Foschi, CEO of Costa Crociere SpA, Carnival’s Italian arm, has been speaking publicly, mostly to blame the captain, Francesco Schettino, who, with his ability to trip and fall to safety, is the luckiest mariner in the history of sea travel.

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Cruise Ship Captain’s Defense: I Tripped Into a Lifeboat

Along with everyone else associated with the doomed Costa Concordia, the captain has got a crisis communications situation on his hands. Media outlets in Italy and around the world have painted a picture of Francesco Schettino as a coward who jumped ship and refused to return even as passengers and his crew members struggled and, in some cases, perished after the vessel ran aground off the Tuscan coast.

Today, Captain Schettino is reported saying that, rather than fleeing the ship in a lifeboat, he actually tripped and landed in one during the chaos. Umm…

“I was trying to get people to get into the boats in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, since the ship was at a 60 to 70 degree angle, I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats. That’s how I found myself there,” he told the newspaper La Repubblica.

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Cruise Company Execs Respond to Costa Concordia Tragedy

The Costa Concordia, off the coast of Tuscany. Photo: News Pictures / Rex Features

The saga of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the Italian coast continues to unfold, step by step, on a worldwide stage. Media reports, photos, passenger videos, and an audio of the captain have all documented what went wrong from a safety standpoint.

The company’s initial crisis communications response has been mainly reactive. (You can view video and gather info about the company’s response on its website.) Company leadership in Italy have held two press conferences to respond to the tragedy. The cruise line is owned by Carnival, and its CEO has spoken about the accident as well, although from here in the U.S.

“Whenever there are fatalities and serious injuries, it’s important for the most senior leadership to be visible,” Bloomberg quotes Ogilvy PR‘s Peter Hirsch, who spoke with them about the issue.

The cruise line is also facing other issues. And while this is a unique tragedy, the issue of crisis communications, even in the most dire of situations, has been discussed by the PR industry in the past.

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