Red Cross taps DC PR vet to lead comms

WASHINGTON: The American Red Cross took an important step toward putting a difficult year behind it last week, wrapping up a 10-month search for someone to lead the communications department.

WASHINGTON: The American Red Cross took an important step toward putting a difficult year behind it last week, wrapping up a 10-month search for someone to lead the communications department.

Charles Dean "Chuck" Connor, a principal with The Dilenschneider Group in Chicago, was tapped to become the 120-year-old nonprofit's next SVP for communications and marketing. He relieves interim SVP Deborah Daley.

Connor is a veteran of the DC PR scene, having served as the first director of public affairs at the federal judiciary and COO of the Navy's Global Communications Program. He spent two years as a principal at The Dilenschneider Group, a midsize agency with offices in New York and Chicago specializing in corporate PR, IR, and crisis work. He will remain there until September 30.

In an internal memo, Marty Evans, president and CEO of the Red Cross, hailed Connor's arrival as the end of a period "of crisis and negative press." Following 9/11, the charity was embroiled in controversy over its distribution of funds intended for victims of the attacks. It recently overhauled its communications function in order to better clarify how donations are handled.

The last person to hold the position full-time was Bill Blaul, who left to join the campaign of Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). Blaul saw his candidate through an August 6 primary, which he won by a large margin. Blaul then took leave.

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