Lake Effect Communications

Lake Effect Communications

The Inaccesible Frontmen

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                        When their companies have achievements and plans for touting, Beth Angelo (Body Central), Raymond Zinn (Micrel, Inc.), Douglas Bergeron (Verifone Systems), Jeffrey Lorberbaum (Mohawk Industries), Samuel H. Gillespie (formerly of Cobalt International Energy Inc.), Ronald Delnevo (formerly of Cardtronics, Inc.), and Steven Fishman (Big Lots Inc.) are usually on the main stage, or close to it.
                        Beth Angelo is the chief merchandising officer of Body Central.  The other executives are CEOs, except for Mr. Gillespie, who was Cobalt’s co-founder and general counsel; and Mr. Delnevo, who was once managing director of Cardtronic’s U.K. operations.  
                        Each of the management members has a trail of clippings resulting from interviews, marketing announcements, and appearances in their roles as senior leaders of publicly traded companies.
                        But when the Wall Street Journal began in late November, 2012 a series of reports about the surprisingly fortunate sell and buy decisions the executives had made in the stocks of their own companies, the executives were not the ones who responded to questions. 
                        No, not Beth Angelo, who was glad to talk with a Jacksonville, FL reporter in 2010 about Body Central’s fashion retailing wisdom.  For its article, the Wall Street Journal spoke with “a Body Central official,” no name supplied.
                        Likewise, Micrel, Inc. put forward “a spokeswoman.”  Verifone provided “a spokesman”.  Mohawk Industries didn’t answer at all.  Cobalt supplied “a spokeswoman.”  Cardtronics?  Another “spokesman.”  Big Lots provided “a Big Lots” official”. 
                        When the Wall Street Journal continued its series of reports with one on April 30, 2013 titled "Insider-Trading Probe Trains Lens on Boards", the reporters received similar demurrals from the representatives of Cardiovascular Systems, Tesla and other companies.  The Cardiovascular spokesman addressed the matter bluntly: "readily providing the information requested. We have nothing to hide."  On the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal, "A Tesla spokeswoman declined to comment."
                        In most instances, the unidentified representatives attested to the compliance of the executives with all trading regulations. 
                        Perhaps the spokespeople are correct and the implications of the Wall Street Journal are not.  Still, how fortunate for the companies that modern journalists and the public relations profession are seemingly content with the public relations person’s role as a reflexive denier of unpleasant probes.  For the companies, the junior representatives are at least a hitch in the progress of an examination and, for the reporters, the statements are proof of an attempt at learning.

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