Aon laps up Sara Lee’s media exec

CHICAGO: Aon Group, an operating arm of the dollars 7.1 billion financial services giant Aon Corp., has created a VP of PR position and hired away Sara Lee’s former director of media relations to fill the new spot.

CHICAGO: Aon Group, an operating arm of the dollars 7.1 billion financial services giant Aon Corp., has created a VP of PR position and hired away Sara Lee’s former director of media relations to fill the new spot.

CHICAGO: Aon Group, an operating arm of the dollars 7.1 billion

financial services giant Aon Corp., has created a VP of PR position and

hired away Sara Lee’s former director of media relations to fill the new

spot.



Jeff Smith, who joined the company earlier this month, has been charged

with developing a PR plan that gels with the company’s overall branding

activities, according to SVP of brand development Jeff Jacobs. Jacobs

himself was brought on board at Aon about a year ago to strengthen the

company’s brand in a hotly contested, high-stakes market niche.



’I’ve always believed that PR is an important part of building a brand,’

Jacobs said, explaining his decision to create a VP of PR position. ’PR

gives us a forum to deliver our message in a credible way.’



While Aon has traditionally employed some staffers who handle PR

responsibilities, Jacobs said, ’PR in the past tended to be much more

low-key.’ Smith will decide what sort of internal PR team he needs going

forward. Agency-wise, Aon remains happy with its relationship with

Shandwick.



Jacobs, whose search for a new PR head lasted five months, had been

seeking someone with brand and financial industry experience, and Smith

clearly fits the bill. In addition to his brand work with Sara Lee, he

worked with the former Continental Illinois Bank and Citibank. ’Jeff has

a very good sense of what it takes to build a brand,’ Jacobs said.



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