Friday, January 23, 2015
How much PR and investor relations do you really need? If you were this company and this executive, the answer is little to none. Gordon was able to get away with decades of running a public company as a personal fiefdom. He talked to no one. His SEC filings were minimal. He kept the public far away from his business although he made a consumer product. Gordon's silent treatment was at the limits of what a company can do to remain out of the public eye. There are a number of what-ifs that should be asked about its stonewalling. What if, for example, there had been contamination of Tootsie Rolls and there had been a nationwide recall? What if there had been a labor action? What if his wife had died before he did? What would have been his succession plan? None of these things happened while he was leading the company, so he had no need to communicate -- and he didn't. When PR and IR practitioners swell with their sense of importance, it is important to remember that there are other Tootsie Roll Industries in the marketplace who have faded into the background and are intent on remaining there.