APCO taps crisis man for new unit

WASHINGTON, DC: Superstitious people may be spooked by Peter Goelz's penchant for showing up at the scene of disasters. APCO, however, believes this is exactly the reason he should be hired to head its new international crisis communications practice.

WASHINGTON, DC: Superstitious people may be spooked by Peter Goelz's penchant for showing up at the scene of disasters. APCO, however, believes this is exactly the reason he should be hired to head its new international crisis communications practice.

Goelz, who spent the last four years as the National Transportation Safety Board's managing director, will serve as SVP and director of worldwide crisis communications at APCO. In his previous role, he oversaw the NTSB's daily operations and advised board chairman Jim Hall.

APCO CEO and founder Margery Kraus said her agency's increasing cross-national orientation has led to an effort to attract high-profile leaders for areas such as crisis communications. 'Someone like Peter has the maturity and type of experience to bring extensive depth to the practice and to give it leadership,' she said.

According to Kraus, Goelz was a good fit for APCO because of his extensive crisis work at the NTSB. He played a major role in developing the board's new procedures for assisting victims of disasters, which were implemented in the aftermath of TWA Flight 800. The airline's sluggishness in reaching out to the families of victims drew strong rebukes from many, including New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who asserted that TWA owed the families and loved ones an apology for extending their 'torture.'

Goelz's experience at the NTSB also brought him into contact with many players within the transportation industry, and these contacts will prove useful to APCO clients such as Boeing and the Air Transport Association.

APCO's new crisis unit is comprised of seven executives, including SVP and director of Strategic Communications B. Jay Cooper, who had been deputy press secretary to Presidents Bush and Reagan. Former Food and Drug Administration official Wayne Pines, author of When Lightning Strikes: A How-To Crisis Manual With Classic Case Studies, is a consultant to the practice.

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