CHICAGO: Over a year after its acquisition by Healthway Communications, things have finally begun to settle down at the Orbis Broadcast Group.
CHICAGO: Over a year after its acquisition by Healthway
Communications, things have finally begun to settle down at the Orbis
The mid-1998 purchase of Orbis by Healthway - since re-named
HealthAnswers - was the first in a string of 11 deals inked by the
The deal sparked an overhaul of senior management at Orbis, including
the departure of three of the company’s founders.
David Manilow was the first to go, leaving not long after the sale. In
October, CEO and partner Jeff Bohnson left for Singapore, where he
assumed the newly created post of president and COO of HealthAnswers
International (a wholly owned subsidiary operating in the Asia Pacific
arena). The third remaining partner, Tim Barr, stayed on until only
While Barr, one of the chief architects behind last year’s Orbis/PR
Newswire partnership, was rumored to have been forced out, company
sources said the conflict was exaggerated. Two high-ranking sales execs,
Tierney Kennedy and Lou Cafiero, also left following the
’I don’t know if I’d call it a housecleaning,’ said newly appointed
president Cynthia Patrasso. ’It was more of a restructuring, placing
everybody where their talents will be put to the best use.’ Patrasso, in
her pre-Orbis life as a VP and executive producer at Intersport, was
part of the team that broke the story of the infamous assault on Olympic
skater Nancy Kerrigan.
HealthAnswers has reorganized its business into five lines, with Orbis
folded into the New Media Division under CEO Holly Atkinson, also hired
earlier this month. According to Patrasso, other major staffing duties
still on Orbis’ agenda include filling the vacant director of sales post
as well as adding additional sales-related positions.
Industry sources have questioned the effects of the restructuring on
Orbis’ efforts to expand beyond its healthcare niche under the PR
’There is no question that our core business is and will continue to be
health,’ Patrasso said. ’But as long as we can provide products and
services to customers outside the health arena, we will continue to do