New York Stock Exchange members will soon vote on the corporate governance rules proposed by interim chairman John Reed. A new board will hire a new CEO who will no doubt look at the people and processes he or she has inherited with some skepticism, including the corporate communications leadership.After all, how could the Grasso pay-package situation be allowed to spin out of control? Did promoting "brand NYSE" distract the PR team from its primary function of protecting the reputation of this venerable organization? Perhaps the most obvious question is whether EVP Bob Zito and the rest of the PR department will be perceived as inextricably linked to the Grasso era. One could argue that new faces are necessary to fix the perceptions of the media and other stakeholders with whom corporate communicators interact. Provided that competency in the job function is not in question, there are compelling reasons to keep the team intact. Reed's request that constitutional changes be fast-tracked will require depth of institutional knowledge to be truly successful. Also, given the circumstances under which Grasso departed (which, unlike other recent scandals, involves no criminality), removing executives associated with his term may be perceived as arbitrary and personally motivated, rather than strategic. Finally, the training that this crisis has provided the NYSE's embattled team is valuable. It would be a shame to let all that experience walk out the door, just as the tough job of effecting real change begins.
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