The Week in PR

News Bits: MSLGroup and parent Publicis Groupe reached a proposed settlement with plaintiffs valued at nearly $3 million in a gender discrimination suit. The settlement resolves claims of some 100 female MSLGroup employees who contend the firm paid them less than their male counterparts. The original suit was filed in 2011. Publicis and MSL did not admit guilt. MSLGroup said it’s “fully committed to the fair, equal, and respectful treatment of all of our employees.” – Grayling said it’s partnered with the Women’s High-Tech Coalition (WHTC) to elevate the organization’s profile in the media, the member community and other tech influencers. The 16-year-old nonprofit brings together leaders in the tech world and government to exchange ideas and advance women’s careers. WHTC’s sponsors and members include: Google, Oracle, Facebook, AT&T and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. – We told you last week that CommCore’s 30th anniversary bash in D.C. included a serious side in that the firm announced a survey of its clients showed cyber security was the top concern. Last week CommCore provided additional detail, noting ethical lapses, natural disasters and reputation rounded out the list of most-troubling crises. In addition, sectors that the survey found were most likely to experience a crisis during the coming 10 years are: financial/banking, pharmaceutical, energy, food/agriculture and transportation. – With more than twice the number of marketing technology companies in early 2015 than there were in 2014, you’d think marketers would be drowning in the latest technology. Not so, says a new survey of 300 marketers. Instead the Walker-Sands study finds 51 percent of marketers say their companies are among the last to adopt marketing technology. Further, 51 percent think their companies fail to invest enough in marketing tech solutions; 42 percent say the technology they use at work is out of date and insufficient for helping them do their jobs. Yet the marketers consider themselves tech savvy, as 44% of them said they are innovators or early adopters when it comes to personal technology [see table]. This last finding “should help [marketing technology] sellers better understand whom they are selling to and what makes them tick, marketers are quite tech savvy; this could shape the sales approach,” says Dave Parro, partner and marketing technology practice lead at Walker-Sands. The biggest surprise for Parro: “How many people are involved in a [technology] buying decision and how differently each person does his/her research.” – We said  last week that newly minted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promised “ambitious” plans for the social media platform. He delivered Tuesday, announcing in an email the company will lay off some 300 employees, or 8% of its workforce. Unconfirmed reports had several affected Twitter employees unable to log in to their computers that morning. The next day Twitter hired Google heavyweight and Twitter neophyte—he hadn’t tweeted until recently— Omid Kordestani, 51, as executive chairman. “Omid is a proven & experienced leader, who will directly help & coach me and our leadership, and help us recruit the best folks to Twitter,” Dorsey tweeted. It remains to be seen whether Dorsey and Co. can move the company into profitability and attract more users. – A far larger platform in terms of users, Facebook last week moved to get even larger, announcing that it is testing a “dedicated” area for users to watch videos without the distraction of other posts and content.

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Kristie Kuhl, senior partner, health, Finn Partners

People Moves: Finn Partners appointed Kristie Kuhl senior partner, health. Prior to joining Finn, Kuhl, who has a law degree, was an EVP at Cohn & Wolfe and Makovsky & Company. -- Hill+Knowlton Strategies added Matthew Felling to its Washington, D.C., office. The new VP was a journalist and strategic communications director for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Kristie Kuhl, senior partner, health, Finn Partners.


This article originally appeared in the October 19, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.