DIARY: Phone company put its PR on hold

The dissolution of a corporate PR department due to merger or takeover is never a pleasant event for those being downsized. But even during such difficult times, shouldn’t some PR decorum be followed?

The dissolution of a corporate PR department due to merger or takeover is never a pleasant event for those being downsized. But even during such difficult times, shouldn’t some PR decorum be followed?

The dissolution of a corporate PR department due to merger or

takeover is never a pleasant event for those being downsized. But even

during such difficult times, shouldn’t some PR decorum be followed?



Apparently not within Ameritech’s PR department, which was dissolved

following the company’s acquisition by SBC Communications.



First, PR staffers who were about to be let go started leaking details

of their severance packages to Chicago papers just before Halloween.

Then, when we attempted to get a comment about the layoffs from

Ameritech director of media relations George Stenitzer, we were told

that he wasn’t answering such questions.



Next, we called the office of communications SVP Joan Walker, whose

assistant referred us back to Stenitzer. A subsequent call to SBC’s St.

Louis office directed us to Selim Bingol at the company’s San Antonio

HQ, who promptly referred us to another person in the San Antonio PR

structure - who refused to be quoted by name. Meanwhile, Walker had

already left Ameritech for Monsanto.



And SBC wonders why its media coverage isn’t any more flattering?



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