Cleveland, OH: Dix & Eaton has confirmed it has been retained by International Coal Group to handle media inquiries and public relations.
The Ashland, KY company, which owns the Sago Mine, has had no PR representation until hiring the Cleveland-based firm.
ICG handling of communications in the final hours of this week's coal mining tragedy in West Virginia severely damaged the company's reputation and could intensify federal action against it, communications pros say.
After news that 12 trapped miners had survived the ordeal spread to family members at a local church late Tuesday, ICG officials waited until after 3am on Wednesday to announce that, in fact, there was only one survivor and that 12 miners had died.
Scott Chaikin, CEO of Dix & Eaton said that, although the agency got the nod yesterday to field media inquiries on the mine disaster, D&E had been hired by ICG in November, to handle investor relations when the company went public.
"We had worked with International Steel Group, another Wilbur Ross property," said Chaikin, "But we also specialize on the crisis side."
He noted that the agency, which has a number of chemical and manufacturing companies on its client roster, had also been retained by Northwest Airlines during its bankruptcy and its machinists strike.
The agency's work for ICG will center on improving "the flow of information."
"They don't have huge staff there, and they have obviously very important and highly sensitive things they have spend time on," Chaikin said.