Paul Holmes 18 Jun 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
NEW YORK, June 19—Ruder Finn may be the only major public relations firm with a formal ethics committee. First formed in the early 1950s, the committee meets regularly to discuss the ethical dilemmas the firm faces and to make recommendations. Now the firm has appointed Rabbi Ezra Finkelstein as the new ethics advisor to the committee.
According to the agency’s chairman and CEO David Finn, Finkelstein’s “lifelong experience and commitment to ethics will be of great value to the ethics committee in helping us resolve ethical dilemmas we are constantly facing in this profession.”
In recent years, the ethics committee has considered whether the firm should resign a major account after it was made aware of a project that could damage the environment (the client abandoned the project because of the controversy it caused); it has opted to resign an overseas government client after a military coup and human rights violations; and has considered conflict of interest issues.
Finkelstein, who is the son of the late Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, former president and chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, was ordained in 1961 by the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has been a spiritual leader of a congregation of 600 families and has been involved extensively in community affairs issues for many years.
Ruder Finn’s ethics committee meetings are open to staff. Emmanuel Tchividjian a member of the Ethics Officers Association, serves as ethics coordinator, and other members of the committee include chairman David Finn; vice chairman Dena Merriam; executive vice president Frank Walton; and chief creative officer Michael Schubert.