GREENSBORO, NC: Steven Watson has moved from the Miami Heat into the tobacco fire.
GREENSBORO, NC: Steven Watson has moved from the Miami Heat into
the tobacco fire.
Watson, formerly VP of broadcasting and communications for the NBA
franchise, has been tapped by Lorillard Tobacco Company to helm its new
external affairs department.
Lorillard’s new communications focus begins, not surprisingly, only
weeks after the company was socked for dollars 16.25 billion in damages
by a Florida jury. ’Because of the increasing complexity and the number
of issues in which we are involved, it is most appropriate and timely
that we create this new department of external affairs,’ said Lorillard
president and CEO Martin Orlowsky in a statement.
For Watson, the move to Lorillard marks a return to the public affairs
arena. He previously served as a GOP communications operative in the
Reagan administration and during two presidential campaigns. ’There’s
more need for corporate communications now than ever before, given the
number and complexity of issues in the public domain,’ he said.
In addition to starting a PR department from scratch in an industry
under siege, Watson will manage state and federal legislative affairs as
well as media relations. He will also oversee Lorillard’s Youth Smoking
Asked if the industry is in a no-win position with its community
relations efforts, Watson responded, ’Eventually, public opinion will
change. I think that once Lorillard’s story gets out, people will become
more accepting of the company as one that’s trying to make a safe, legal