LAST CALL: Amid controversy, GE can't put much stock in its award

On March 21, General Electric won its sixth straight Grand Prix Award from Investor Relations magazine.

On March 21, General Electric won its sixth straight Grand Prix Award from Investor Relations magazine.

Unfortunately, the company's IR department wasn't able to savor the honor.

Two days earlier, financial guru Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund, had ripped into the behemoth's disclosure practices, causing GE stock to tumble 6%.

As comparisons to Enron rained down, the company (perhaps adhering to the theory that when you can't sleep with your interviewers, you should own them) sent CEO Jeffrey Immelt to address the issue on GE-controlled CNBC. It also mailed a letter of reassurance to shareholders.

(Of course, Investor Relations is not the first magazine to have some trouble with the timing of its cover story. Business 2.0 recently put Jeffrey Skilling on its cover as a symbol of the digital revolution. Oh, and then there was PRWeek awarding Ogilvy as Agency of the Year only to have the firm announce layoffs the next week.)

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