Former Honeywell CEO advocates strong in-house PR teams

CHICAGO: There is a "big battle" going on in corporate America regarding who PR professionals should report to in an organization, according to Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell in an interview with PRWeek.com. PR leaders should focus instead on ensuring they have access to the C-suite, which is what CEOs want.

CHICAGO: There is a "big battle" going on in corporate America regarding who PR professionals should report to in an organization, according to Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell in an interview with PRWeek.com. PR leaders should focus instead on ensuring they have access to the C-suite, which is what CEOs want.

"PR doesn't need to report to the CEO," Bossidy said, "but I want to deal directly with the PR person when I need to. He added that it is crucial for organizations to develop strong in-house PR capabilities instead of relying wholly on external agencies.

Bossidy spoke to PRWeek.com following a speech he gave at the World Business Forum in Chicago. He said that today's media environment has exerted new pressures on CEOs. "The media is more hostile to everyone now," he said. ?I don't think it's disruptive, but CEOs need to know that if they issue a statement saying five good things and one bad thing, [the media] will report on the bad thing.?

Heightened media scrutiny also means that CEOs have to embody the qualities and values of their companies all the time, he said.

Bossidy, who signed copies of his new book Confronting Reality: Doing what matters to Get Things Right at the Forum, also said that PR people play an important role in helping CEOs know what their companies' stakeholders are thinking.

?If the CEO is aloof and removed, it's hard,? Bossidy said. ?The one mistake CEOs make is crafting messages for PR people that the PR people know won't have legs. They need to work together to craft messages that resonate honestly with people.?

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