Image revamp under way for Chicago Board of Trade

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.

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

another.



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.’



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