NEW YORK: Dick Hyde is stepping down as the director of Hill & Knowlton?s risk management and crisis communications group. He is being replaced by Chris Gidez, formerly a corporate and financial practice SVP.
Hyde, who held the position for 20 years, will be a senior counselor in the practice.
Hyde has a reputation as one of the most experienced crisis counselors in the business. Past assignments include the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, Gatorade's product contamination, and the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India.
Hyde said he would continue to serve his stable of clients and support Gidez in the crisis communications practice. He will also focus on building out H&K's executive leadership communications training practice, which teaches a variety of communications skills to clients' executives on a fast track to the C-suite.
"I'll still have a pretty full plate here at H&K," Hyde said.
He said it was the availability of a qualified successor that convinced him to step down now.
Gidez said the heritage and experience of H&K's crisis practice offers him an opportunity to, "step into an organization at the head of its class and to make it better."
While regulatory issues like Sarbanes-Oxley and Regulation FD, as well as the ubiquity of the internet, have changed some practices in a crisis, Gidez says that many things remain the same.
"A crisis in an organization is a business crisis, not a communications crisis," Gidez said. "It's not just what the company says, but what it does. It's our job to help the company articulate that."
In addition to his US work, Gidez will also collaborate with his global colleagues.
"Information does not recognize borders; when you Google, you see the world," Gidez said. "Part of the value we bring is how we reach out worldwide."
Prior to joining H&K in 2004, Gidez worked for 14 years at Chevron (formerly Texaco), most recently as GM of corporate communications.