He's sitting on top of dollars 125 billion, yet lets other people
pick up the tab. Meet the man who thought The Right Stuff was the wrong
stuff: PR's worst literary agent, Rob Densen.
How did you get into PR? I finished graduate school with dollars 5,000
in debt, an unfinished manuscript, 85 ungraded term papers, the
fifth-highest all-time Pac-Man score at my favorite watering hole and no
other discernible skill. My other offer was from a dog groomer. What
would you do?
Describe the company you work for now OppenheimerFunds has dollars 125
billion in assets, five million shareholder accounts, 60-plus funds,
four hands and one world-class PR department.
What do you do? As director of corporate affairs, I facilitate and
encourage extramarital employee relationships. Also, I get publicity,
help with the advertising and give money away.
What is your greatest achievement? Bringing forth our Women & Investing
program at a time when the media and financial services industry alike
studiously ignored the needs of this market. On a more personal level, I
once kept the bedroom floor clear of underwear for an entire week. OK,
Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn I
drove through Xenia, OH with Tom Wolfe about an hour before it was
devastated by a tornado. Later that day, I told him his idea for a book
about astronauts was "lame and would never sell."
What was your best stunt? I proposed to my wife by hiding an engagement
ring in a double-baked stuffed potato.
What was your biggest screw-up? She ate it.
What's the most daring thing you've ever done - in or out of work? As a
newspaper copy editor, I inserted a non-existent city into the list
describing the weather in cities across the nation. I think it was
What invention would make your job easier? A Soul-o-Matic. One end would
peer into the innermost being of job candidates; the other could debone
fish. RonCo, are you listening?
What is the biggest item you've ever put on expenses? Come on, PRWeek.
Really big expense items are put on other people's expense reports.
Write the headline for the story you would most like to read in PRWeek
"Ali to Densen: 'No ... You're the greatest!'"
What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? I have no regrets, with
the possible exception of this entire interview.
Who would you most like to work with? It's a five-way tie between Tom
Stoppard, Maimonides, David Ogilvy, Muhammad Ali and my dad.
If you were an animal, what would you be? A Jack Russell Terrier.
They're mischievous, inattentive, undisciplined and yet everybody loves
them. Also, they jump really high.
What skill would you most like to have? A 360-degree slam off a
devastating crossover dribble. If that's too much to ask for, I'd like
to make half my foul shots.
What is the secret of your success? I care desperately. I keep the bar
high. I'm mildly but consistently amusing.