WASHINGTON, DC: The auto PR merry-go-round took another spin last week when Ford poached Nicole Solomon, DaimlerChrysler’s Washington public affairs chief, to serve in a similar role.
WASHINGTON, DC: The auto PR merry-go-round took another spin last
week when Ford poached Nicole Solomon, DaimlerChrysler’s Washington
public affairs chief, to serve in a similar role.
Solomon, who replaces Ford veteran Mike Moran as director of Ford’s
Washington public affairs office, finds herself reunited with former
colleague Jason Vines, who took over as Ford VP of communications two
months ago (PRWeek, Feb. 21). Solomon was working for GM’s Washington PR
office several years ago when Vines, then working for Chrysler,
recruited her over to his side of the fence. She becomes the first of
Vines’ former colleagues to cross over to Ford.
Moran is expected to return to Ford headquarters in Michigan for an
undisclosed position. ’We’re bringing Mike back here,’ Vines said. ’He
has a wealth of Ford experience and we need him in Dearborn.’ Moran was
a congressional aide and worked for H&K in Washington before joining
Ford in the early 1980s.
While Solomon’s defection to Ford marks the latest round of auto PR
musical chairs, until recently company-hopping by high-visibility auto
PR pros was a relatively rare phenomenon.
In early 1999, GM lured Steve Harris away from the top PR spot at
Chrysler following the merger with Daimler Benz. Since then, Harris has
lured several of his former Chrysler PR cronies to join him at GM.
DaimlerChrysler promptly filled the vacancy created by Harris’ defection
by promoting Steve Rossi, a Chevrolet and Saab PR vet who was then head
of North American PR for Mercedes-Benz. In February, Ford filled its
vacant top PR post by grabbing Vines from Nissan, which had pirated him
from Chrysler only a year or two before.
The precedent for career trajectories like those of Vines, Rossi and
Solomon was set over 20 years ago by auto PR legend Jim Tolley. American
Motors snatched Tolley from his job as head of Chevrolet PR to serve as
its communications chief, but Chrysler then won him with a better
AMC then hired Ford PR pro Jerry Sloan, who lasted through Chrysler’s
1987 buyout of AMC.