2016 PR People Awards: Financial Communications Professional of the Year

Winner: Laureen Ellison, VP, Head of Marketing & Communications, Pepperjam

On Nov. 2, 2015, Laureen Ellison sequenced seven press releases in five minutes that announced the sale of eBay Enterprise, and the simultaneous creation of four separate companies: Magento, Pepperjam, Radial, and Zeta Interactive.

This announcement was the culmination of a successful—and highly complex—separation from eBay, Inc., as part of which Ellison was responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications. This included internal communications and change management for over 7,000 employees, outreach to external stakeholder audiences including investors, clients, partners, prospects, analysts and media, transitioning marketing operations vendors, contracts and platforms and supporting the continuation of on-going demand generation and marketing activities.

Post-separation, Ellison was named vice president, head of marketing and communications for Pepperjam. Since joining Pepperjam, she has overseen marketing and communications activities announcing and integrating three strategic acquisitions, rebranding of the company and the creation of a new demand generation engine supporting Pepperjam’s record-breaking sales for 2016.

Ellison’s stewardship of strategic communications supporting the spin-off of eBay Enterprise and its separation into four separate companies demonstrated the strategic value communications can contribute throughout the merger and acquisition process. Her thoughtfully executed program helped to maintain positive coverage, retain motivated employees in a time of crisis and increase the value of a troubled asset, allowing the go-forward companies to capitalize on their separation for immediate success.

Between the announcement of the sale and the close of the deal, eBay Enterprise’s share of voice increased from 81 to 85 percent with positive/neutral coverage increasing from 66 to 68 percent. Voluntary attrition rates held steady at 16 percent during the separation; sales teams, equipped with targeted messaging about the separation, drove more than $352 million in total new contract value after eBay announced its intention to sell eBay Enterprise.

Honorable Mention:

  • Robert Burton, Lambert, Edwards & Associates