CHICAGO: New Bank One CEO Jamie Dimon has initiated an ambitious communications plan to reach out to employees, analysts and the media - a move that critics say is exactly what’s needed PR-wise at the troubled institution.
CHICAGO: New Bank One CEO Jamie Dimon has initiated an ambitious
communications plan to reach out to employees, analysts and the media -
a move that critics say is exactly what’s needed PR-wise at the troubled
Dimon, appointed CEO March 27, has ’embarked on a comprehensive
communications program using existing vehicles and some new ones,’
according to Gerald Buldak, SVP and head of public affairs at the
Chicago financial institution.
The major thrust of the effort is internal, as the bank attempts to
address the employee concerns that inevitably arise when a company
changes its top leadership.
Shortly after Bank One’s board approved Dimon’s selection, he held a
late-afternoon press conference and conducted 10 one-on-one interviews
with major media. Later that night, he sent a voice-mail message to each
of the bank’s 85,000 employees, and a follow-up letter appeared the next
day on the company’s Intranet site. Employees were clearly anxious to
read what he had to say: site hits rose from 100,000 per day before
Dimon arrived to 165,000 during his first Tuesday on the job.
Last week, his second at the bank, he planned to meet with Wall Street
analysts and employees at major Bank One sites in Detroit, Phoenix,
Dallas and Wilmington, DE.
’We’re trying to introduce him to as many people as possible,’ Buldak
explained. ’He wants to show he’s open to employees’ ideas about the
Bank One has faced more than its share of problems during the past year,
including lower-than-expected earnings and rumors of strife between
former First Chicago and Bank One officials (the two institutions merged
in late 1998). Former CEO John McCoy left in December 1999.
Chicago PR pros reserved judgment on Dimon’s first days. ’The new CEO
needs to hit the ground running and reach out, particularly to
front-line employees who field customer questions,’ said Edelman SVP
Nicholas Kalm. ’He’s got a significant challenge internally.’
Kalm added that Dimon will likely have a ’honeymoon period’ of about
three months, during which he must open the lines of communication with
his key audiences.
’Employees who have lived through recent bank problems need to have a
reason to recommit to Bank One and to Dimon himself,’ he said. ’They
want to feel good about the new captain of the ship.’