WASHINGTON, D.C.—Publc affairs firm Dittus Communications and its affiliates, FTI Consulting and FD, have formed a vertically integrated service offering that will help clients across a variety of industry sectors prepare for and navigate high-stakes, high-profile congressional oversight and investigations. In 2006, management consultancy FTI Consulting acquired Financial Dynamics and its public affairs arm Dittus Communications.
The new corporate oversight and investigations team offers a range of services designed to provide a “one-stop shop” for companies and organizations concerned about, or undergoing oversight and investigation by state and federal legislative and regulatory bodies. Services include strategic positioning; writing of congressional testimony and graphics preparation; media relations; investigation-specific media training; specialized investor relations; Q&A preparation; employee communications; and blogging and new media strategies.
“The reality is Congress and state regulators are going to be far more aggressive in using oversight hearings to shine a powerful light on a variety of industries, entities and individual companies,” says Dittus president and CEO Gloria Dittus. “Failing to prepare, and ultimately respond appropriately can be very expensive for a company in terms of its brand, reputation and bottom line
“The key is put the right team in place and get ahead of the curve. If the first time a Member of Congress hears your story is after you raise your right hand, you’ve got a very steep hill to climb.”
“Even the threat of accusation can raise costly doubts and concerns in the minds of financial analysts and shareholders,” adds Gordon McCoun, senior managing director in the FD investor relations practice. “In order to minimize the detrimental effect of political posturing to a company’s bottom line, our integrated team is well-positioned to protect its reputation from K Street to Wall Street.”
The corporate oversight and investigations team brings together multi-disciplinary experts including Laura Sheehan, who managed oversight and investigations communications as Democratic spokeswoman for the House Committee on Energy & Commerce; Julia Payne, former White House spokeswoman for President Clinton and Vice President Gore; Michael Waldron, who was communications director for the former chairman of the Energy & Commerce Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, Congressman Fred Upton; Neal Hochberg, who has more than 30 years of professional experience on accounting and financial investigations and now leads FTI’s global investigations and forensic accounting groups; as well as McCoun.
Public affairs firms clearly see more congressional scrutiny for corporate clients, and more hearings. Last week, APCO Worldwide announced a similar new practice focused on government oversight, regulation and compliance.