CHICAGO: Britannica.com, the dot-com era incarnation of the old Encyclopaedia Britannica, has hired away Playboy Enterprises’ director of corporate communications to expand its fledgling PR operations.
CHICAGO: Britannica.com, the dot-com era incarnation of the old
Encyclopaedia Britannica, has hired away Playboy Enterprises’ director
of corporate communications to expand its fledgling PR operations.
Rebecca Theim left Playboy March 17 and starts as executive director of
PR at Britannica today. She will report directly to CEO Don Yannias and
work alongside director of corporate communications director Tom
Theim’s arrival doubles the company’s internal PR resources. ’We’re not
as lean as we used to be,’ Pannelas joked.
Britannica chose Theim over a host of candidates (Heidrick and Struggles
directed the search), basing its selection on her online experience and
her ’experience with a traditional brand that is moving online,’
Pannelas said. Her Britannica responsibilities will include promoting
the Web site, raising the company’s profile in Chicago, fostering
internal communications and launching new products.
Theim, who declined to comment on why she made the job switch, had been
something of a one-woman show at Playboy, handling corporate and online
PR as well as overseeing public appearances for Playboy chairman
Christie Hefner. Playboy has not set a timetable for naming Theim’s
Since relaunching its Web site last October - and essentially staking
the company’s future on it - Britannica has placed a major emphasis on
PR. With the advent of the Internet and CD-ROM encyclopedias such as
Microsoft’s Encarta, sales of the printed Britannica edition have fallen
80% over the past ten years. While the privately held company no longer
releases financial information, industry sources estimated that its
sales have fallen from a high of dollars 650 million in 1989 to about
dollars 300 million in 1998.