Industry News & Trends


Breaking News Lyondell to Drop Ketchum For New Firm. Lyondell Petro Chemicals, a publicly-traded chemical maker based in Houston, is searching for a new PR firm for national media relations. Ketchum Public Relations, New York, has handled the account since 1990. Christine McGee, a PA specialist for Lyondell, is handling the search. She told PR NEWS that her company would prefer a mid-sized agency in the New York area specializing in the financial/business arena. She explained Lyondell's parting with Ketchum saying that, "While they did a good job for us, we felt we outgrew the relationship - it was time for a change." McGee can be reached at 713/652-4156. Edelman Wins Back Mexican Tourism from Burson. Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, New York, has once again won the $1 million plus account to handle PR/promotions for the Mexican Tourism Board. Edelman originally had the account from 1992 to 1995, before it was handed to Burson-Marsteller. B-M will continue to handle the public affairs portion of the account for the MTB. Overseeing the account for Edelman is Barbara Taylor, executive VP and head of its consumer group. Taylor Exits F-H To Head PR for MONY. Mary Taylor, VP at the New York office of Fleishman-Hillard since 1995, has left to become VP-corporate communications for Mutual of New York, a $20 billion, Manhattan-based insurance provider. Taylor will oversee MONY's entire PR department, which has a budget of about $5 million. She replaces Eileen Ast, who left MONY in January to become VP-marketing at the New York Times Magazine. For Taylor, this is her second major stint in the insurance industry in the past 10 years, as she was VP-corporate communications for the Home Insurance Co. in New York from 1993-1995. Business KuDO Laurence Moskowitz, president and CEO of Medialink Worldwide Inc., received the 1998 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young LLP. He received the honor in the communications category, one of eight business sectors singled out. (Medialink, 212/682-8300) Trends IR Execs Take Note: IPOs Continue Climb. Initial public offering filings continue to grow over 1994 and the steady increase certainly will place more IPO work on the plates of investor relations specialists. A "Going Public" report by Nasdaq, New York, shows that 457 companies filed IPOs last year on the Nasdaq market and 127 and 18 on the NYSE and Amex markets, respectively. Although Nasdaq's IPO numbers dipped below last year's (when 716 companies went public), 1997 statistics point to a steady spurt (there were 39 more IPO filings than there were three years ago). The trend should serve as a sign for IR executives to buff up their road tour and media skills when it comes to winding up a pitch for the new guy. And if you're in the manufacturing biz, chances are you'll be doing more of that than someone in the finance industry. Of last year's IPOs, 32.5 percent were in manufacturing. The rest: computer programming and data processing, 18.6 %; services, 14.7 %; retail/wholesale trade, 10.2 %; transportation and communications, 9.7 %; finance, insurance and real estate, 7.6%; and other, 4.1%. (Nasdaq, 202/496-2500) Workers Starting Companies As Buffers to Corp. Politics. Even if your company practices model employee communications and attempts to stay progressive, you still may lose professionals to the promise of being their own bosses, new research indicates. Therefore, it's essential that you conduct an overview of your corporate culture to reveal the morale pitfalls in your business. An ongoing study, "International Survey of Self-Employed Business Communicators," compiled by independent PR professionals, shows that 19 percent of 400-plus employees start their own companies to escape corporate politics. The rest leave because: Their companies restructure - 22%; They want independence or to broaden their expertise - both 22%;They want to make more money - 8%; andThey want to make a lifestyle change - 7%. (Kim Karnett, kkarnett@sprintmail.com)

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