Chrysler streamlines strategic comms unit

AUBURN HILLS, MI: The Chrysler group of DaimlerChrysler has slimmed down its communications committee to better deal with major strategic communications issues.

AUBURN HILLS, MI: The Chrysler group of DaimlerChrysler has slimmed down its communications committee to better deal with major strategic communications issues.

"It's not a committee to look at every press release. It's a higher-altitude look at what we do as a company," explained Jason Vines, Chrysler VP of communications. The committee will meet monthly.

Chrysler has increased its PR budget by $30 million this year, Vines said.

CEO Dieter Zetsche heads the panel and Vines will run the meetings. Others on the committee are Chrysler's EVP of sales and marketing, its EVP of product development, its COO, and its SVP of external affairs and public policy.

Vines, who rejoined Chrysler in January, said the committee had grown unwieldy in the past as a variety of people regularly attended meetings and more and more minor matters were discussed.

He said the decision to streamline did not stem from recent public-image snafus Chrysler experienced late last year. The company came in for criticism for planning to sponsor the Lingerie Bowl, an event tied to the Super Bowl telecast. Chrysler ended up backing out of that sponsorship. Some of its recent advertising has also been criticized as being in bad taste.

Vines said the committee's large size had made it tough for it to act quickly or to examine broader communications issues.

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