The PR industry lost some of its best and brightest in 2013. Here's a brief look back at some of the key communications players and pioneers that died this year.
Andy Cooper, principal and cofounder, CooperKatz & Company, 64
Andy Cooper started his PR career in 1975 at Burson-Marsteller in Chicago at the beginning of more than two decades at the firm. He left the agency in 1996 to found CooperKatz with college friend and Burson colleague Ralph Katz. “I feel that I have had as a partner one of the best at our craft in the world, and every day see his influence on the people he worked with over the years,” Katz said.
Al Croft, former SVP, Bozell Public Relations
Al Croft first worked at Ketchum predecessor Ketchum, MacLeod & Grove for eight years as a group manager and VP in its Pittsburgh office before leaving for motion picture firm The Latent Image. He later joined Aitkin-Kynett in Philadelphia. Bozell hired Croft as Midwest regional manager in Chicago in 1978.
Ray Crockett, former director of communications, Coca-Cola, 68
Ray Crockett retired from Coca-Cola in July 2010 after an 11-year career at the company. He more recently served as a senior consultant at Atlanta-based Hartman Public Relations. Crockett was director of communications for Coca-Cola's Minute Maid division before taking on responsibility for brand and consumer communications a year later. He transitioned to Coca-Cola North America in 2003.
Daniel J. Edelman, founder, Edelman, 92
Daniel J. Edelman founded an agency in 1952 in Chicago that would go on to become the biggest in the PR industry. He earlier worked as a reporter in Poughkeepsie, NY, before he was drafted into World War II. Edelman also was a news writer for CBS and PR director for hair products-maker the Toni Company before founding his own agency. He retired as CEO in 1996. “I think the important thing I learned from him was his values,” said Richard Edelman, his son and successor. “He was also committed to giving the client creativity and excellent values.”
Ruth Edelman, board member and DJE Holdings deputy chair, 84
Daniel and Ruth Edelman were married for 59 years prior to his death in January. She was appointed deputy chairman of DJE Holdings the following month, and she provided counsel to the company and president and CEO Richard Edelman in the role. In 2010, the firm named its integrated marketing shop “Ruth” after her. Ruth Edelman was also a prominent mental health advocate, supporting groups such as the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association.
Lawrence Foster, former corporate VP of PR, Johnson & Johnson, 88
Lawrence Foster began his career at the Newark News and became its night editor at the age of 29 in 1954. Nearly three decades later, he helped to guide Tylenol through its response through major crises in 1982 and 1984 after some marketers predicted the brand would never recover from sabotage incidents. During his three decades at the company, Foster served as director of PR and assistant to the chairman before becoming corporate VP of PR. He retired from J&J in 1990. “Larry Foster will always be remembered as a champion of integrity in our field, exemplifying the power of acting responsibly while helping our company to grow,” said Maggie FitzPatrick, J&J CCO.
John Harlow, cofounder, Naked Communications, 45
John Harlow was credited as the driving force behind UK-based Naked Communications, which he cofounded in 2000 along with John Wilkins and Will Collin before launching Naked in New York in 2006. Originally backed by a minority investment from Mother, Naked was sold to Australian group Photon in 2006 for an upfront payment of £16.5 million.
Arthur Yann, VP of PR, Public Relations Society of America, 48
Arthur Yann served as the Public Relations Society of America's VP of PR since 2008, overseeing communications and advocacy efforts for the organization representing more than 20,000 PR professionals. He was a PRSA member since 1999. Prior to joining the organization, Yann was SVP at HealthStar Public Relations and served as director of CKPR's New York office for four years. “[Yann's] advice was always the same – do the right thing, and the public relations will follow. He was never a fan of being politically correct. He simply wanted to speak the truth,” PRSA president and COO William Murray said.