Gonring Quits Baxter, Citing Lack of Support
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Gonring Quits Baxter, Citing Lack of Support

Matt Gonring has quit his job as vice president of corporate communications at Baxter International, claiming the “the commitment; resources and support important in leading the function… were not in place.”

Paul Holmes

DEERFIELD, Ill, October 5—Matt Gonring has quit his job as vice president of corporate communications at Baxter International, claiming the “the commitment; resources and support important in leading the function… were not in place.” Gorning joined Baxter last year after serving as managing partner of communications at Arthur Andersen.
 
Gonring says that in the near term he will work at Northwestern University, where he has been on the faculty for 11 years, as an executive-in-residence. He will help with curriculum planning, lecturing and student development while he looks for another corporate position.
 
“When you look at a new position you try to assess the things that will be important for success,” says Gonring. “You look for support, and resources, and chemistry. But there’s a different between saying you want to do something and doing it. We have had some success in building a team and restructuring the function, but if a company wants to be number one on the Fortune most admired list or to be an employer of choice, there’s a certain level of commitment that is needed.”
 
Gonring says he believes the reporting relationship was part of the problem. At Baxter, the corporate communications function reported not to the CEO but the head of human resources.
 
Nevertheless, Gonring says he is pleased with several achievements during his short stint at Baxter. “We got our web communications together,” he says. “We organized our corporate identity, creating a single master brand. We became much more aggressive in terms of our leadership as a family friendly places to work, and made progress on corporate social responsibility.”
 
As for his future plans, “I’m going to look for an organization that needs and wants leadership in communications. My focus will be on finding that right opportunity. As has always been the case, my family will play a key role in guiding our decisions.”
 
Gonring began his public relations career at Northwestern Airlines, and went on to become director of external communications at United Airlines and vice president of corporate communications at USG before joining Arthur Andersen in 1997. He is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society.
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