Golin's Gilbert to Relaunch Consulting Firm
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Golin's Gilbert to Relaunch Consulting Firm

Just a week after parent company Interpublic announced plans for more than 3,000 layoffs around its network of agencies, Golin/Harris International announced that its president, David Gilbert, is leaving to re-establish his consulting business.

Paul Holmes

  CHICAGO, August 10—Just a week after parent company Interpublic announced plans for more than 3,000 layoffs around its network of agencies, Golin/Harris International announced that its president, David Gilbert, is leaving to re-establish his consulting business, David R. Gilbert & Associates. The move was interpreted in some circles as a cost-cutting measure by the firm, and CEO Rich Jernstedt acknowledged that the position of president was being eliminated.
 
The news came only a few weeks after Gilbert led a Golin/Harris team that put together a successful PR effort on behalf of the city of Chicago to woo aircraft manufacturer Boeing to the city. But it also comes hard on the heels of a decision by DaimlerChrysler, one of Golin’s largest clients, to cut its spending with outside agencies.
 
Jernstedt agreed that Gilbert’s departure would represent a cost savings, although he insisted that the decision to leave was Gilbert’s. The Chicago, New York, and Washington offices, which had reported to Gilbert, will now report to Jernstedt.
 
In a memo to employees, Jernstedt wrote: “All of us at Golin/Harris recognize and greatly appreciate Dave’s many contributions to the firm’s development and growth over the past nine years he has been associated with us, first as general manager of the Chicago office and then as president of the firm. We are pleased he will continue as a consultant with Golin/Harris.”
 
Gilbert will also continue to maintain his office at the firm’s Illinois Center headquarters, and says his new company will focus most of its energies in two areas: working with CEOs to ensure that their personal communications are successful; and helping clients manage agency relationships for maximum effectiveness.
 
“The way a CEO communicates within his own organization can be absolutely crucial,” he says. “Before joining Golin/Harris I worked with Mike Walsh at Tenneco, and he used his personal communications ability to turn that company around. But a lot of CEOs feel their hands are tied when it comes to communicating with their employees, either by the bureaucracy of their organizations or their inability to say precisely what they mean. I think I can help them with that.”
 
To do so, Gilbert will draw on his experience not only as a counselor with Golin/Harris and before that with Lesnik Public Relations, but also as vice president of corporate communications at Continental Bank and as press secretary to Illinois Governor James Thompson. His corporate experience will also come in handy in his second area of focus.
 
“A lot of money is being wasted in our business because companies don’t know how to use agencies efficiently and effectively,” Gilbert says. “A lot of times corporate communications people use agencies as arms and legs. That’s an expensive proposition. The value I can add is in counseling them on how to establish a relationship with an agency, how to get the right people on the account, and how to use them most effectively.”
 
The Financial Relations Board, a sister company of Golin’s in the Interpublic family, laid off 5 people in Chicago last week, and not 20 as we reported. We apologize for the error.
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