Finn Gets Senior PR Position at Oracle
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Finn Gets Senior PR Position at Oracle

Jim Finn, a veteran of senior public relations positions at IBM, General Motors, and Chase Manhattan, has been named vice president of worldwide public relations at Oracle Corporation, the world’s largest enterprise software company.

Paul Holmes

REDWOOD SHORES, October 19—Jim Finn, a veteran of senior public relations positions at IBM, General Motors, and Chase Manhattan, has been named vice president of worldwide public relations at Oracle Corporation, the world’s largest enterprise software company. He is responsible for all of Oracle’s worldwide public relations efforts for both Oracle products and for the corporation itself.
 
The selection of Finn for a position that has been open for 12 months follows an eventful year for Oracle. The company hired former White House communications chief Joe Lockhart earlier this year as a special counselor to CEO Larry Ellison—he left less than six months later—and last month Oracle ended its eight year relationship with Applied Communications, taking most of its PR activity in-house and restructuring to provide a more integrated, “Internet-speed” PR approach.
 
Finn has not held the senior communications position at any of his previous companies, and he has not working extensively on Internet public relations—although he did help Chase establish an impressive online media relations capability—but neither of those two things is as important as his attitude, according to Mark Jarvis, Oracle’s chief marketing officer, to whom Finn will report.
 
Jarvis says Oracle doesn’t need people with a great deal of experience on the Internet, because it has plenty of expertise in-house. But it does need people who share its commitment to aggressive PR and a bleeding-edge approach.
 
“There were three requirements for the job,” says Jarvis. “First, we needed someone with experience in crisis management. Our style is such that we need someone who can get us into and out of crisis. The way we work, we create our own crises. Second, we wanted someone with global experience. It’s very difficult to find someone in public relations who has real corporate experience. And third, we needed someone who was as aggressive in style as we are.”
 
Finn says he is not concerned about reporting to Jarvis rather than to the CEO. “This is a very common reporting line in technology companies,” he says. “At the end of the day, the important thing is that you can help the senior management team communicate its messages effectively. That’s not about reporting structure.”
 
Before joining Oracle, Finn was senior vice president for public relations at the Chase Manhattan Corporation, responsible for the strategic external communications objectives of the corporation including media relations, executive communications and financial communications. Prior to joining Chase, he was an executive with the New York-based treasurer’s office of General Motors, where he served as a key media spokesman on financial performance issues. He also worked for IBM’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations in the company’s Paris.
 
“What excited me most about this opportunity is that after talking to Mark and to Larry Ellison, we all shared the same aggressive philosophy about public relations,” says Finn. “It’s a great time to be joining Oracle, which is a unique global brand with a great product offering.”
 
One immediate challenge is likely to involve helping Ellison promote his post-terrorism plan for a national database of identification cards, which has drawn the ire of civil libertarians.
 
Finn says he is looking to expand the company’s PR department, which currently includes about 30 people in the U.S., as well as people in each of the 168 countries where Oracle operates. “If you are a PR professional who believes in an aggressive approach to PR and who wants to be part of an aggressive PR team, call me.”
View Style:

Load 3 More
comments powered by Disqus