CHIGACO: Pharmaceuticals giant Monsanto has poached Ameritech’s
senior vice-president of communications, following the telecom company’s
takeover by rival CBS Communications.
Joan Walker has joined Monsanto in the newly created position of senior
vice-president of corporate affairs.
She reports to Richard De Schutter, vice-chairman and chief executive
officer and is responsible for Monsanto’s communications globally. She
will be spending her time between Monsanto’s Chicago and St Louis
offices, and will also travel to the company’s offices around the world
to make sure each arm is communicating a similar message.
Walker’s brief will be wide-ranging. She will take charge of all public
affairs, external relations and internal communications. She will work
across all of Monsanto’s divisions, including the GD Searl
Monsanto has been lumbered with a rocky reputation for media relations
in recent months. This has not been helped by controversy over the issue
of GM foods. In the UK the company responded by strengthening its PR
In February Monsanto recruited Safeway public affairs head, Tony Combes
to manage its corporate public and media relations.
The company has been unable to find a chief PR lieutenant since Phil
Angell left, without another job to go to, in the spring. Angell’s role,
corporate communications director, focused on the US.
Walker’s move follows the pounds 4 billion merger of Ameritech into SB
Combining the companies is understood to have resulted in the loss of 30
internal PR jobs.