Friday, September 12, 2008

Funeral For The Living 

Here is a case where communications are beyond difficult. The CEO of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is trying to sell the firm before it collapses. The company's stock price has plunged. The death watch for the firm is weeks old. Each day the news gets worse. A colleague of mine asked yesterday, "Who would want it?" Good question. But, if there is a way of communicating the residual value of the business to potential acquirers, Lehman needs to do it now. There isn't much time left.

Imagine what the corporate communications department is doing at Lehman. It is preparing death notices before the doors have closed. That is not a job anyone wants. The word on the Street is that Lehman's CEO moved too slowly to shore up the capital of the firm as its financial situation deteriorated. Whether true or not, imagine having to defend him while he is working furiously to peddle the firm. Of course, if the firm is sold, it is likely the corporate communications department will be let go. If the firm is liquidated, they will surely find themselves out of work. PR in a dying company is a dirty business.


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