Author Archives

Chris Atkins

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.

Imperfect…and Tense

“Doesn’t it seem like somebody is working awfully hard to convince us of how imperfect we are? If we could be more emotionally resilient or get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning or remember to do that one thing that successful people never forget to do, would our […]

The Monk and the Concorde

An excerpt from “An Honest Day’s Work,” my new book, which will be published in the fall of 2014. One of my favorite Burson-Marsteller clients was Lloyd’s of London. Lloyd’s was renowned for its willingness to take on all kinds of outsized risks – major catastrophes, environmental disasters, […]

Canoe Keep a Secret?

Mark Twain famously said, “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies and statistics.” I know exactly what he meant. My first job in PR was working for a sole practitioner. His main source of income was an engagement with Grumman Boats and Canoes. Legions of one-time […]

Stalking the Wild Goose

Some years ago, when I was working for a major PR agency, my buddy stuck his head in my office doorway. “Listen,” he said. “I know we were supposed to go to lunch today, but we got a call about a huge new business opportunity. The prospect wants […]

35mm Mayhem

If you started your first job in 2013, you have never known life without PowerPoint, the ubiquitous presentation software developed by Apple and later sold to Microsoft. Powerpoint can be an effective supplement to a discussion, but we have all experienced the microtype, over-stuffed slides that gave rise […]

Holiday Hot Air

Thanksgiving always reminds me of my second PR agency job. My employer’s office was on Broadway, and the agency had a very cool tradition of hosting a breakfast for clients and staff on Thanksgiving morning. Our fifth floor offices afforded an outstanding view of the Macy’s parade, whose […]

Micro Data

You hear the term “Big Data” a lot these days. It seems to be the answer to almost any question that arises. • How can we predict what our customers will want to buy in six months? • How can I predict the next financial downturn? • Where […]

Where’s My Chair?

It doesn’t do to take yourself too seriously in the PR game, although lots of people do.  Attend almost any convocation of PR folks and you will hear about the great strides the profession is about to make in being taken more seriously as a management function.  The […]