This spring, I am teaching “Fundamentals of the Theory and Practice of Public Relations” to 32 students at Marist College. I recently invited Michael O’Brien of Ketchum to speak to the class about planning. Michael spoke eloquently on the subject, but I have to admit that […]
Chris Atkins is an author, speaker and communications consultant with 35 years of PR agency and in-house experience.
Chris was Managing Director for all internal and external communications for PricewaterhouseCoopers. With nearly nine billion in revenues and 30,000 employees, PwC (US) is the largest of the “Big Four” accounting firms. He joined PwC after five years at Standard & Poor’s, where he was responsible for all communications for credit ratings and indices such as the S&P 500. He was at the forefront of S&P’s crisis response regarding the role of credit ratings in the financial meltdown. Before joining S&P, he spent 26 years at several major public relations agencies. He was Managing Director of the Global Corporate Practices at Ogilvy Public Relations and Ketchum, counseling clients such as FedEx, the New York Stock Exchange and GE. While at Ketchum, Chris founded the Ketchum Reputation Lab, which used the 20+ year data set from Fortune Magazine’s “America’s Most Admired Corporations” survey to develop an analytical tool to inform communications strategy.
Chris also served as Chief Operating Officer of the New York office of Burson-Marsteller, and was a Vice President in the Corporate Group at Hill & Knowlton. A frequent speaker and guest lecturer at NYU and Columbia on the topic of crisis preparedness and response, Chris was named by PR Week as one of the “20 crisis counselors CEOs should have in their speed-dialer.”
Chris is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, and a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations. He is the co-author of a book on corporate reputation called Image Wars: Protecting Your Company When There’s No Place to Hide, (1989, John Wiley & Sons) and “An Honest Day’s Work,” to be published in the fall of 2014. He lives with his wife, Lauren Letellier, in Manhattan and Hillsdale, NY.
Today’s Wall Street Journal brings news of a trend in business to refashion job titles to make them more appealing to current employees and potential recruits. In place of “Customer Service Representative,” that person’s business card may say “Customer Service Ninja.” Who wants to be a Sales Representative […]
On the anniversary of the 1987 market crash, I have a message: An economic downturn is coming. And it’s overdue. Anyone who has worked through a recession (and in my career, I went through four) knows how devastating its effects are. Business starts to dry up. Clients disappear. […]
I’m not a big Twitter user. I have an account, but I rarely tweet. From time to time, I check my notifications because Twitter sends me an email telling me to. But I am fully aware that many people rely on Twitter almost exclusively to communicate, with […]
As we are confronted daily with the Trump Administration’s obvious disdain for the media and the truth in general, it’s instructive to look at a sad chapter in US history – one that has some potentially frightening parallels today. One hundred years ago, as President Woodrow Wilson reluctantly […]
When United Airlines gets tired of mugging its customers, they’ve always got their employees to batter. The latest news out of the Sears…er…Willis Tower (sorry, I still call 200 Park Avenue the Pan Am building) is that United’s executive brain trust tried to eliminate a longstanding performance […]
Over the years, several of the agencies at which I worked took on controversial clients. Whether it was Big Tobacco or the Fur Council or Big Pharma to name a few, the argument has always been that any client deserves representation. We help them tell their stories and […]
How many CEOs wish they could say that? (Answer: All of them.) How many CEOs actually would say that, even to themselves, let alone in an investor meeting? At least one. In September, that’s what came out of the mouth of Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, […]
About 20 years ago, I was speaking with a former agency colleague who was then the head of PR for a large bank. I was recounting a problem I had experienced with my own bank. My friend sighed and said, “You know, I am always surprised by how […]
The 27-month-old boy sprawled across his mother, both under one seatbelt, and the elbow of the stand-by passenger who was given the child’s fully paid seat. I thought I was done with United Airlines as a topic. I was wrong. It has been more than two months since […]