LOS ANGELES: Further beefing up his communications staff, Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan has added Peter Hidalgo as his first press secretary. The move is effective today.
Hidalgo, manager of media and external communications for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, has taken a year's leave of absence from Metrolink, where he has been acting director of corporate communications, to serve Riordan until the end of his term (13 months away). He will report to Manuel Valencia, recently named interim deputy mayor for communications (PRWeek, March 27).
A native of Ecuador, Hidalgo became a crisis communications maven overnight following the deadly 1994 Northridge earthquake. He was Metrolink's lifeline to thousands of stranded residents in north LA County, providing commuter rail information to most media outlets.
His 13-year career in transportation began at the nation's largest rideshare agency, the Los Angeles-based Commuter Transportation Service, and in 1992 he developed the Metrolink marketing communications start-up model.
His international background, including a fluent command of both English and Spanish, has given him a critical advantage in working with the city's multicultural community.
Hidalgo is president-elect of PRSA's Los Angeles chapter and a former board member of the Publicity Club of LA and IABC.