WASHINGTON: Susan Neely, SVP for communications at the Association
of American Medical Colleges, has emerged as the likely nominee for the
director of communications position in the newly created Office of
Homeland Security, according to White House and industry sources.
Tom Ridge, director of the new office and former governor of
Pennsylvania, reportedly met with Neely early in the week and gave his
approval. A White House source confirmed that she was being "looked at
closely," and was indeed the top person being considered for the
Neely, who declined to comment for this article, has long been a fixture
on the Washington PR scene, and was recently elected chairwoman of the
Public Affairs Council (PAC) effective 2003.
Doug Pinkham, president of the PAC, said Neely's experience as a
communications executive in the medical and insurance industries make
her uniquely qualified for the homeland security position, as she has a
"great ability to understand how public policy and communications work
The Office of Homeland Security was created by President Bush in
response to the attacks of September 11. It is charged with coordinating
the intelligence and activities of 46 federal agencies in an attempt to
protect against future terrorist attacks on American soil.