PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Dollar salary helps raise NYSE's PR stock

NEW YORK: Sometimes one small PR move can help stabilize a sinking PR ship by setting a new tone. That's what former Citigroup head John Reed's decision to accept a $1 salary as the interim CEO of the NYSE achieved last week.

NEW YORK: Sometimes one small PR move can help stabilize a sinking PR ship by setting a new tone. That's what former Citigroup head John Reed's decision to accept a $1 salary as the interim CEO of the NYSE achieved last week.

Desperate to find a fresh a face in the middle of a media storm over just-ousted NYSE chairman and CEO Dick Grasso's $140 million pay package, the exchange's board of directors tapped Reed as the new front man. The board had been reeling from several notable PR gaffes, groping for a new figure to replace the tainted Grasso. Enter John Reed - a longtime banking executive most famous for helping to engineer the banking mega-merger that resulted in the world's largest financial services company, Citigroup. Beyond that, he's known for eventually coming out on the losing end of a power struggle for the helm of that company a few years later. Now the NYSE board - until a few weeks ago a "who's who" of New York's power elite that saw each member proud to mention his board membership at dinner parties - was turning to Reed as their temporary savior from a PR firestorm. One of the reasons Reed was so appealing was that despite a long career in finance, he had no ties to the exchange. "I am really an outsider when it comes to the NYSE," Reed declared at the press conference announcing his appointment. Perhaps, the fact that the exchange's new interim CEO was wearing this distinction as something close to a badge of honor would demonstrate how far out of hand the NYSE's board of directors had allowed the Grasso fiasco to get. Nonetheless, Reed's most deft PR move was the announcement of his $1 salary. While assuming the position on a pro bono basis would have also grabbed attention, the $1 figure contrasted well with Grasso's gargantuan pay package and helped set a new tone for the exchange - earning John Reed PR Play of the Week.

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