EDS embarks on a new PR path as Uzzi departs to launch own firm

DALLAS: High-ranking communications executives at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) will move up the ladder when their boss, SVP Don Uzzi, steps down at the end of the month.

DALLAS: High-ranking communications executives at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) will move up the ladder when their boss, SVP Don Uzzi, steps down at the end of the month.

Uzzi will retire from the media-battered computer-services firm and start his own marketing and communications consultancy, Atheneum Associates.

Uzzi has overseen marketing, advertising, communications, and government affairs since 1999. Under his lead, EDS developed its splashy cat-herding Super Bowl ads, which the internal PR team leveraged heavily.

Tom Mattia will now move up to corporate VP of global communications, taking on advertising and website supervision in addition to his existing responsibilities of internal and external communications. Meanwhile, Jeff Baum, chief spokesman at EDS, moves up from corporate PR director to director of corporate communications, community affairs, corporate giving, and corporate governance.

PR and advertising under Mattia promises to be more understated. "We're the antithesis of flash," he said. Beginning this week, EDS will run a series of client-testimonial ads in The Wall Street Journal, and plans to launch a new advertising and PR campaign next year.

EDS' stock price was hit hard in September when it lowered its third-quarter earnings predictions by 80% due to accounting problems and concerns about two bankrupt clients - WorldCom and US Airways. The company called on its former agency of record, Edelman, for help, said Mattia. EDS also brought in Kekst & Co. for financial communication, and Hill & Knowlton's Chicago office to assist with positioning.

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