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Posts Tagged ‘Meg Whitman’

Big Brands Encourage Supreme Court to Support Gay Marriage

Supreme Court of the United States An update in case you don’t follow judicial politics: The United States Supreme Court is about to hear a couple of cases challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), the 1996 legislation that effectively said “in the eyes of the federal government, marriage and related legal benefits can only occur between a man and a woman.”

Public opinion on the issue has shifted dramatically since that law passed, and now more than 200 of the country’s biggest brands are teaming up to let the Supreme Court know that this isn’t just a cultural or political matter–DoMA is making it harder for businesses to operate.

Brands ranging from techies like Facebook and Apple to consumer biggies like Nike and even financial titans like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs signed on to file what’s called a “supporting brief” or “friend of the court brief”. Their major point: DoMA effectively forces us to discriminate against our employees and makes the process of finding, courting and rewarding the talent we need that much more challenging.

How so, you ask?

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Last Night’s Loser: Big Money

From a PR perspective, we’ve already established the winners of last night’s election: no-frills, on-brand messaging and basic math. The loser, in our humble opinion, was big money.

After the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, quite a few observers began to freak out over the growing power wielded by well-funded Super PACs and advocacy groups.

These fears may well be justified; 2012 was the most expensive election in history, with spending on presidential and congressional campaigns amounting to approximately $6 billion, and we can’t quite see that as a positive thing. Still, this year’s contests brought encouraging signs hinting at the fact that “a whole lot of money” just isn’t enough to win an election in this country today.

Take, for example, the unsuccessful Connecticut Senate campaign of former WWE head Linda McMahon. Over three years and two different races, the wrestling executive spent $100 million of her own money, easily breaking all records and providing a nice boost to the Connecticut economy. Yet Chris Murphy defeated McMahon by a healthy margin last night despite the fact that she spent twice as much as he did while eschewing divisive social issues to run as a moderate business reformer.

What does this tell us?

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Google’s Eric Schmidt: ‘It’s Very Easy to Criticize a Company That You’re Not In’

Google’s executive chairman expressed the headline’s sentiment during a discussion with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of All Things D at New York’s 92 Y yesterday evening. Schmidt’s comments varied from scripted to candid when discussing his Silicon Valley competitors and Google’s innovative products such as driverless cars.(Google’s Street Views Car, pictured at left, is currently on display at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum)

Schmidt leveled his harshest criticism at Microsoft, a company he excludes from his list of four major industry players (Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook). He said, “They’re well-funded, but they haven’t been able to bring out state-of-the-art products in key areas. Let’s see what their new set of products does.”

Yet Schmidt sympathized with HP‘s recent struggles, describing his friend Meg Whitman as a “capable CEO.” He noted, while enterprise businesses once had lots of time develop various strategies, they’re now under considerably more pressure to find solutions to pressing problems as quickly as possible.

Schmidt also cut Facebook some slack, saying that “with a billion users, they can find ways to make money.” While acknowledging Facebook’s enormous database of registered users, he also pointedly noted, “Google wants more registered users, but we’re not forcing customers to sign up.”

Schmidt also lauded Twitter for doing “an excellent job of celebrity branding” while referring to the many stars who have used the platform to expand their followings and expressed hope that Google+ might one day become a key competitor.

Despite Schmidt’s widely quoted critiques about Apple’s inferior iPhone maps, he saved his highest praise for his main rival. “Apple did a phenomenal job of building integrated solutions and they did a tremendous job with tablets.” He also emphasized that Apple has more cash. He said that Apple “still has a special place in his heart”, which makes sense–Schmidt once served on Apple’s Board and had a close personal relationship with Steve Jobs.

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Roll Call: Kyodo PR, WCG, Business Wire, and more

Akira Yamada has been named the president and CEO of Kyodo Public Relations, one of the largest firms in Japan, after the company’s founder Sakae Ohashi stepped down following a financial scandal. An investigation found that Ohashi embezzeled money to repay personal loans. Two board members have also left the company. Yamada says a corporate governance group has been established. Ruder Finn partnered with the firm in November[via Holmes Report]

H-P CEO Meg Whitman has hired Henry Gomez as chief comms officer and EVP. The two have a long relationship that extends back to her work at eBay and her run for California governor. The relationship even spawned the moniker “Menry.” AllThingsD has the press release.

Michael Frohlich has been named Ogilvy PR‘s MD of the EAME region’s consumer marketing practice, a newly-created position. Frohlich was previously with the Bell Pottinger Group, which recently ran into trouble over some secret footage. He’ll join the firm in February. [via]

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Good Communication Will Help Whitman In Her New HP CEO Position

Meg Whitman is the new CEO of HP. Hooray! Right? Kind of? People are already talking smack. Although, the board, which fired Leo Apotheker after less than a year, isn’t getting raves either.

Anyhoo, the first email about the leadership change went to employees yesterday, serving as a Braveheart-style pep talk about the importance of the company and the staffers. But it’s consumers, investors, analysts, and others who also need convincing. The company just a few weeks ago decided, out of the blue, to drop the TouchPad six weeks in, change the focus of the business, and try to buy another company.

And even though she’s promising “continuity,” that may not be the best message to put out there either.

“We’re going to get more of the same from a Meg Whitman- led HP as we did from a Leo-led HP,” one analyst told Bloomberg. “The board isn’t going to change the strategy and is going to continue down this path, which frankly was the fear.”
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Carly Fiorina Caught On Open Mic

Note to PR pros: when you’re on camera, don’t say anything inappropriate, even if the segment hasn’t started taping yet.

In this video shot yesterday, California GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is caught making comments about Barbara Boxer‘s haircut, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, and Fox News host Sean Hannity, reports TVNewser.

“It’s really surprising that on the first day of the general, Meg Whitman is going on Sean Hannity,” she commented to an off-screen aide. “I think it’s bizarre…I think it’s a very bad choice actually. You know how he is.”

Fiorina’s press secretary told CNN, “This was nothing but early morning small talk.” Nonetheless, it’s a bit surprising from Fiorina, who is not a small time candidate, and should be used to the media routine from her days as CEO of HP.

She tried to clarify the remarks with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News last night.

California Gov. Candidate Meg Whitman In Hot Water With Local Media After Snub

Some Bay Area reporters are not happy with California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman after they were invited to an event billed as “open to the media” but were not allowed to ask any questions.

The event was a meeting with Union Pacific Railroad officials and a tour of Oakland’s port.

The video above shows Whitman spokesperson Sarah Pompei attempting to fend off the reporters. “So why were we invited?” one reporter asked, when told Whitman would have no time to meet with them.

Here’s the damning quote, via InsideBayArea.com:

A Whitman spokeswoman said Union Pacific had asked that no news media accompany Whitman on her tour of the facility; [Scott Moore, Union Pacific's vice president of public affairs] told one reporter that it was the campaign’s decision.

This looks like a classic game of “he said, she said” to us.