Bank CEOs, Karmanos Should Give PR a Seat at Boardroom Table

Before we become accused of taking “pot shots”, a disclaimer: Pete Karmanos’ heart may well be in the right place in giving an ex-con a new lease on life, and everyone deserves a second chance. That said, the sloppily-orchestrated announcement by Compuware that Kwame Kilpatrick was coming on board, coupled with Karmanos’ ridiculous comments today regarding the shoving of a sheriff’s office deputy in Tom Walsh’s Freep column begs the question: Where’s the communications counsel in all of this?

More than likely, as Daniel Gross’s piece on Wall Street CEOs in Slate Magazine suggests, ego renders any such help a moot point. “A common taunt on Wall Street,” Gross writes, “goes: ‘If you’re so smart, how come you’re not rich?’ And so they tend to eschew the advice of their modestly compensated PR advisers.”

When Chrysler was taken over last year by Cerberus, suddenly, PR was answering to HR?! In turn, out went one of the finest PR pros in the business: Jason Vines. Telling, isn’t it, that Vines lasted mere months at Compuware?

A free word of advice to CEOs, if I may: In good times and especially in bad, have your public relations counselors with you at the boardroom table—and leave the egos at the door before you walk in.