‘PR pros should be in front of the elephant’: Remembering CBS’ Gil Schwartz

The longtime network communications executive died on Saturday

Late CBS communications executive Gil Schwartz. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Late CBS communications executive Gil Schwartz. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

SANTA MONICA, CA: Former top CBS communications executive Gil Schwartz died on Sunday at age 68 of a heart attack. 

Schwartz, who moonlighted as Fortune columnist and novelist Stanley Bing, retired from CBS after decades at the network in November 2018 in the wake of the Les Moonves scandal. 

Schwartz gave the keynote speech at the PRWeek Conference in 2011, comparing the tough conversations that PR pros need to have with executives to the choice of getting in front of or behind an elephant during a parade.  

“If we report to the right person, we are in front of the elephant, marching proudly and making sure the elephant doesn’t go off grazing in some field somewhere,” Schwartz said. “You have control and even have the baton.”

 Providing value to senior management, he said, means telling the elephant what it needs to hear, not what it wants to hear. 

“It is that attempt to make the organization do the right thing that is at the heart of great PR work, which ends up producing no PR at all,” Schwartz explained.

Watch the video of his speech here:

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