eCompanies’ new hire could mean change

SANTA MONICA, CA: The arrival of a new PR chief at eCompanies, one of America’s largest Internet start-up incubators, could signal a change in the reporting structure for the company’s agency of record, Manning Selvage & Lee.

SANTA MONICA, CA: The arrival of a new PR chief at eCompanies, one of America’s largest Internet start-up incubators, could signal a change in the reporting structure for the company’s agency of record, Manning Selvage & Lee.

SANTA MONICA, CA: The arrival of a new PR chief at eCompanies, one

of America’s largest Internet start-up incubators, could signal a change

in the reporting structure for the company’s agency of record, Manning

Selvage & Lee.



The decision may well rest in the hands of Christian Gunning, who joined

eCompanies last Monday from Shandwick’s Seattle outpost, where he was

group director of the firm’s business-to-business technology unit. The

company’s first and top-ranking spokesperson, Gunning will report

directly to founders Jake Winebaum (a former president of Disney Online)

and Sky Dayton (co-founder of EarthLink).



MS&L VP Kelly Fitzsimmons said her firm, which launched eCompanies sites

eParties.com and eMemories.com, remains agency of record for

eCompanies.



’We are launching Business.com and expect to be retained, but we are not

officially on board as the site’s PR firm,’ she explained.



Gunning, however, answered evasively when asked if any PR changes are

likely. ’All things are possible,’ he said.



Gunning, whose six-year stint at Shandwick included work on the agency’s

Microsoft Network and Hotmail.com accounts, is rumored to have resigned

because his responsibilities were eroded by the arrival of new

management.



Gunning also tired of the daily commute from California.



eCompanies is currently planning the launch of two Internet start-ups,

animation site Icebox.com and Business.com, both of which are expected

to go live in the second half of 2000. Gunning is scheduled to meet with

Winebaum and Dayton in a week or two to discuss the PR arrangements.



Business.com has hired The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Gumbel as its

editor-in-chief.



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