ROCHESTER, NY: Jack Koten, the founding director and first president of the Arthur W. Page Society, died on Friday. He was 84 years old.
Koten's career spanned a variety of operating, financial, and corporate communications departments at Illinois Bell, AT&T, and New Jersey Bell. He was also a co-founder of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication.
At Chicago-based Ameritech, Koten served as SVP of corporate communications and as president of the Ameritech Foundation, which made $25 million in annual grants to education, economic development, and cultural institutions.
After retiring, he started the Wordsworth Group, a consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations improve management practices, reputation, and revenues.
Former Public Relations Society of America leader Betsy Plank turned to Koten for help creating the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, said Ron Culp, chair of the Center and professional director of the master's program in PR and advertising at DePaul University.
“Jack was a personal friend and mentor for over 25 years,” he said, via email. “He expected and inspired perfection in the practice of public relations.”
Lawrence Foster, the former corporate VP of PR at Johnson & Johnson and another co-founder of the Page Center, died in October.
Koten, Foster, and former AT&T PR SVP Ed Block created the Center, which is based at the Penn State College of Communications, in 2004. Their goal was to “foster a modern understanding and application of the Page Principles by supporting innovative research, educational, or public service projects in a wide variety of academic disciplines and professional fields,” according to its website. The organization was named in honor of Arthur Page, who served as VP of PR at AT&T from 1927 to 1946.
Koten was inducted into the Page Society's Hall of Fame in 1995.
“When I joined the board, no one was more knowledgeable about or dedicated to the history, processes, and people that made Page great than Jack Koten,” said Page Society President Roger Bolton in a letter to members. “Jack was thoughtful, generous, dedicated, and diligent. I found him to be among the most principled and committed people I ever had the privilege to know.”