DEERFIELD, IL: Baxter International, the medical supplies giant,
has hired a new director of internal communications for the latest move
in a reorganization and expansion of its communication operations.
Baxter expects to hire at least two more PR people and to look for
additional agency help on several projects, said Matt Gonring, VP
Gonring has already hired Chicago agency Matha/MacDonald to look at
strategic plans for internal communications, and Ogilvy Interactive to
assess Baxter's Web communications activities. Burson-Marsteller also
does some work for Baxter, which has no agency of record. 'We're looking
at additional support for brand development activities,' Gonring
Baxter spends dollars 7-10 million annually on corporate communications,
but he expects that to increase.
Since joining Baxter six months ago, Gonring has created a
communications center, consolidating groups that had handled corporate
communications, Web communications, a customer call center and community
He has also begun meeting with PR people who work for various Baxter
business and geographic units, trying to clarify their roles and enhance
collaboration among them and his new communications center.
Fifty-five people work in the communications center while 35 handle
communications for business units and regions.
Melissa Oakley was named Baxter's new global internal comms director on
March 20, joining the medical products company from McDonald's.
Gonring had also hired George Rafeedie, a former coworker at Arthur
Andersen, as his manager of media relations, and brought on board Amanda
Albright, a recent grad of Northwestern's IMC graduate program, to
handle special projects. Deborah Spak was promoted from manager to
director of media relations.