McLean takes the world in his hands as WEF’s PR pro

GENEVA: Hoping to prove that more than talk occurs at its meetings, the World Economic Forum has hired Charles McLean away from Hill & Knowlton to fill a new PR post.

GENEVA: Hoping to prove that more than talk occurs at its meetings, the World Economic Forum has hired Charles McLean away from Hill & Knowlton to fill a new PR post.

GENEVA: Hoping to prove that more than talk occurs at its meetings,

the World Economic Forum has hired Charles McLean away from Hill &

Knowlton to fill a new PR post.



McLean, formerly a senior managing director in H&K’s Washington office,

becomes the organization’s first director of communications and public

affairs. His job is expected to prove wide-ranging: the WEF’s membership

is comprised of large multinational corporations, and the group

regularly hosts meetings for leading international movers and shakers.

However, very little is known about its mission and actions.



Among those who spoke at January’s WEF meeting were President Clinton,

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and King Abdullah II of Jordan. Other

participants include representatives from leading non-governmental

organizations (NGOs) and the news media.



In hiring McLean, the WEF hopes to more effectively coordinate efforts

by NGOs and corporations to tackle significant international problems,

ranging from disease and hunger to bridging the digital divide.



’One of the things the forum is eager to do is to ensure that more of

the great ideas that come out of the (annual) meeting and the regional

meetings are translated into real action and real deliverables,’ McLean

explained. ’There’s a lot more than talking going on at the

meetings.’



McLean added that the WEF previously employed a media manager, but that

his position was specifically created to take the group’s communications

to the next level. He expects that his job will include a significant

amount of travel.



McLean is probably used to it, having covered news in 57 countries as a

producer, foreign correspondent and bureau chief for NBC before joining

H&K in 1995. Working out of the agency’s DC office, McLean counseled

clients on media relations and crisis communications, and was head of

the firm’s public diplomacy group.



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