Boeing move is likely to shrink PR unit

SEATTLE: Boeing will know by the end of May how many of its 35

corporate PR people will move from Seattle to a downsized office in


The number of PR staffers offered positions at the new corporate

headquarters there has not been disclosed. John Dern, director of media

relations, said, 'All the people who are going to get offers have until

the end of the month to sign them.' But Dern, who is moving to Chicago,

expects the PR department to shrink. Boeing is cutting its corporate

staff from 1,000 to 500 positions when it moves.

The aircraft maker currently has no PR agency of record, and that will

not change when it moves to Chicago, said Dern. However, Boeing is

likely to take on a Chicago PR agency to handle the initial media crush

when the move occurs in September.

Boeing retained Edelman to set up its May 10 press conference announcing

the Chicago move, and the agency is a probable front runner for the


Edelman also helped Illinois attract Boeing.

Golin/Harris did pro bono work for the city of Chicago during the quest

and hopes to see more assignments as a result of that successful


Boeing received widespread coverage during its two-month search for a

new headquarters city, but Dern said the decision to publicly disclose

its intentions to move was not motivated by PR concerns. 'We were really

driven by the desire of the relocation team to collect a lot of specific

data,' he said. Trying to do that secretly would have inevitably led to

leaks and 'we would have lost control of the story,' he added.

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