Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Wednesday morning

A big global review to watch; Can Elon Musk do that?; Papa John's CEO blames founder's comments for plummeting same-store sales.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Here’s a big agency review to watch. HSBC is taking a look at its global PR agency roster. However, the review will not affect its global corporate and public affairs account, which Finsbury won from FTI Consulting in 2016 (PRWeek U.K.).

The closely watched special House election in Ohio is too close to call, though Republican Troy Balderson has inched ahead to become the likely winner (NBC News). Balderson has declared victory (Columbus Dispatch), as has President Donald Trump, who took credit for pushing Balderson over the finish line. However, the ultra-tight race in a comfortable GOP district is not making Republicans more confident about November’s midterms (Axios).

"Can he do that?" has been the general reaction to Elon Musk’s tweeting that he wants to take Tesla private (Bloomberg), with some experts wondering if he broke the law with the surprise announcement (MarketWatch). Private-equity investors and bankers doubt he can pull off the buyout (Wall Street Journal).

Does bad CEO behavior affect the bottom line? In Papa John’s case, the answer seems to be very much "yes." Same-store sales at the pizza chain were down 10.5% in July, the month news of founder John Schnatter’s use of a racial slur became public, and 6.1% in the quarter. The company expects a drop of between 7% and 10% in same-store sales for the full year (CNBC). Schnatter, however, is unconvinced. "History shows that the company performs better with me involved, and it declines when I step away," he said in a statement (Bloomberg).

CEO Jack Dorsey’s long explanation for why Twitter isn’t banning InfoWars or Alex Jones -- "he hasn’t violated any of our rules" -- isn’t winning him more friends (CNBC). Former Twitter comms executive Emily Horne tweeted that Dorsey’s comment that the company "has been terrible at explaining its decisions" was lame. Meanwhile, Jones has been channeling a third of Warren Zevon and asking supporters to send him money (New York Times).

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