Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know Friday morning

Zulily looks for PR firm; Credit Suisse's CEO quits; China censors hashtags after doctor dies; J&J to pay damages; Wendy's calls out McDonald's by name.

Online retailer Zulily, a subsidiary of Qurate Retail, which also owns the brands QVC, HSN, and Cornerstone, is searching for a new PR agency. The brand is looking for a consumer PR firm to handle media relations and media strategy, according to an invitation sent out January 20 by a Zulily procurement employee.

Credit Suisse’s CEO Tidjane Thiam has quit, admitting a spying scandal had damaged the bank’s reputation. Thomas Gottstein, CEO of Credit Suisse in Switzerland, will replace him. Last year the bank’s former wealth management chief, Iqbal Khan said he was spied on after leaving for rival bank UBS. An outside inquiry found the surveillance was ordered by Credit Suisse’s former COO Pierre-Olivier Bouee. "I had no knowledge of the observation of two former colleagues," Thiam said in a statement. "It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place." (Associated Press)

China is censoring hashtags in the wake of the death of a doctor who warned about the coronavirus. Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who spoke out about the virus in December, has died and Chinese citizens took to social media to express their grief, and anger at the government, on social media. Some, critiquing censorship in the wake of the outbreak, posted the hashtag #IWantFreedomOfSpeech but it was blocked on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. According to a CNBC translation, one user posted "The top searches on Weibo, the news (that you see) is all that they want you to see, lies are also made up by what those at the top want to make up, (I’m) losing confidence in the official media. Freedom of speech doesn’t exist at all."

Johnson & Johnson must pay $750 million in punitive damages to plaintiffs who said Baby Powder caused their cancer, a New Jersey jury said Thursday. The number will likely be reduced to near $185 million because of state laws, Yahoo Finance reports. Earlier in the trial, the plaintiffs were awarded $37.2 million in compensation. There were "numerous legal errors that subjected the jury to irrelevant information and prevented them from hearing meaningful evidence," J&J said in a statement that promised the company would appeal. Last month, the company’s CEO Alex Gorsky testified for the first time. "We believe the jury was speaking directly to Alex Gorsky," said the plaintiff's lawyer.

Wendy’s referenced McDonald’s by name in a tweet for the first time this week. "You assume we have [tweeted about McDonald’s] before," said Jimmy Bennett, Wendy’s VP of media and social. "It’s happened in replies and other capacities, but never in an initial tweet itself."

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