CHICAGO: In the wake of the departure of its long-time president, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBT) has launched a concerted effort to communicate a future direction for the exchange and demonstrate that it can still be a lobbying force on Capitol Hill.
CHICAGO: In the wake of the departure of its long-time president,
the Chicago Board of Trade (CBT) has launched a concerted effort to
communicate a future direction for the exchange and demonstrate that it
can still be a lobbying force on Capitol Hill.
While CBT VP of communications Rich Myers said his staff is continuing
with business as usual in terms of member and customer communications,
several Chicago observers believe that much work needs to be done. ’The
image of the Board of Trade is that it’s rudderless right now,’ said
Mike O’Connell, a former CBT PR staffer who now runs his own Chicago PR
shop, O’Connell and Crawford.
CBT president Tom Donovan announced April 14 that he was leaving the
exchange after 18 years. In addition to running day-to-day operations,
Donovan was also a major lobbying force for the exchange and the futures
industry, both in Chicago and nationwide.
However, Donovan had been under fire inside the exchange since the
election of chairman David Brennan in December 1998. Brennan repeatedly
clashed with Donovan, unsuccessfully trying to oust him in April 1999.
’The internal management turmoil has only accentuated their business
problems,’ said a long-time exchange observer. ’How do you craft an
image when the senior management is at war with itself?’ asked
While there has been speculation that Myers and other members of the
CBT’s communications department will soon be departing, Myers said
Donovan’s departure will not lead to changes in the exchange’s 20-strong
in-house PR operation.
Still, O’Connell thinks Myers and his staff are vulnerable: ’It’s
certainly not my impression that people like Brennan value what they
do.’ And while acknowledging the strength of the CBT’s current DC
lobbyists, Ginger Szala, group publisher for Futures magazine, added, ’I
think Tom Donovan was ingrained in the whole DC process. He knew which
buttons to push.’