Raytheon restructuring boosts PR's role

LEXINGTON, MA: Raytheon's recent restructuring has been a boon to its communications department, taking its involvement in the company to unprecedented levels.

LEXINGTON, MA: Raytheon's recent restructuring has been a boon to its communications department, taking its involvement in the company to unprecedented levels.

The global technology company, which specializes in defense, government, and commercial electronics, recently restructured into several business units, including space and airborne systems, intelligence and information systems, network-centric systems, missile systems, integrated defense systems, and aircraft. Raytheon has appointed a VP of communications to each of those units.

"In some cases, these are new positions," said Phyllis Piano, VP of corporate affairs and communications. "In other cases, it was an elevation of a position. Now we have VPs of communications who are on all the leadership teams.

"The company is really looking at how we can be more of a customer-focused company," she added. "To do that, you have to have a communications person at the highest level of the business."

Raytheon's strong embrace of communications began earlier this year with the arrival of Lucy Flynn as director of PR and brand management, followed by James Fetig as VP of media relations.

Along with the communications appointments to the individual business units, Raytheon has also named Patrick Coulter VP of government and defense communications. This deeper commitment to communications is part of Raytheon's effort to position and brand itself.

"The leadership team of this company very much understands the importance of communications," said Piano. "I sit on the leadership team, and I answer to the CEO."

Raytheon is developing an integrated marketing plan, she added, and is looking at everyone from employees to customers for a better sense of how they perceive the company.

"We want people to understand our strengths and capabilities," added Piano. "And since we don't have a huge advertising budget, and we never have, much of that falls to communications."

While Raytheon does not have an AOR, it is working with agencies such as Hill & Knowlton on its communications.

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