Over the 40+ years I have plied my trade as a public relations professional and educator, I have witnessed countless examples of organizations wrestling with the consequences of their actions. No company is immune from scandal. In the best of them, there is a seasoned public relations counselor […]
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.
(I originally published this post in 2013, but it still seems relevant.) Oddly enough, I was overlooked once again to serve as a commencement speaker this year. In fact, although I have been available most Spring weekends for the past few years, not one institution of higher learning […]
If the handling – or mishandling – of the pandemic by the Administration shows us one thing, it would surely be a lack of imagination. The question, “What if?” seems to have been banned from the White House in favor of the petulant “What for?” That seems to […]
We hear a lot about “fake news” these days, almost as if it is something new. But fake news has a long and glorious (sometimes hilarious) history in the United States. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but I doubt we are alone. One example […]
I have written in the past about how some companies give their customer-facing employees so little discretion to do the right thing, they end up creating a nightmare for themselves. My post about United Airlines and the disgraceful episode of the forcible and bloody ejection of a passenger […]
You’ve probably never heard of Robert Morin, unless you live in New Hampshire. And maybe not even then. But Mr. Morin quite innocently sowed the seeds of a particularly egregious moment in PR history. Morin was born in Nashua, NH in 1938 to French-Canadian parents who toiled in […]
Are you up for a little game of “What if?” I am, after the remarkable news that the CEO of Wal-Mart has decreed that the chain will no longer sell handgun ammunition or bullets made for assault weapons. And Wal-Mart has gone even further, asking that customers in […]
Since I have an hour drive to school and back twice a week, I have become a regular podcast listener. One that I like very much is “Stay Tuned With Preet,” Preet being Preet Bahrara, former head of the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York. While he […]
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 […]
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 […]