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Wanna Get Away? October PR History

When the going gets tough, the tough get going – on a taxpayer-subsidized vacation. And that’s exactly what the executives at insurance giant AIG did in September 2008, when they flew out for a relaxing vacation at the swanky St. Regis hotel in southern California. And boy, did they need it: Just six days earlier, AIG had received an $85 billion government bailout. Apparently they converted it into traveler’s checks.

To their credit, the AIG execs made the most of their trip, spending a whopping $440,000. The tab included $10,000 in bar bills, $1,400 in salon expenses and $23,000 at the spa, where they racked up thousands of frequent-rubber miles.

AIG’s Most Excellent Vacation hit the media in early October and was a PR disaster. The New York Daily News may have summed it up best with their headline: “AIG big shots get $500G vacations on taxpayers’ dime.” And when it was reported that rooms at the St. Regis ran up to $1,200 a night, one Congressman pointedly remarked, “That’s more than some of my constituents pay on a mortgage payment on homes they’re now losing.”

To their defense, AIG had planned the trip before the bailout. They also tipped generously, spending another $3,000 of (taxpayer) money. And whenever possible, they used a Groupon.

But give AIG credit for being consistent. Just three months before the bailout, they fired the CEO — and gave him a $15 million parachute. And in 2014, another AIG CEO sued the government, complaining that the bailout was not generous enough. Meanwhile, several other executives are still hoping for a lucrative movie deal offer from Oliver Stone.

All of which should help PR pros remember: You never want to have bad optics. But if you do, at least make sure your room has a nice view.

New Year’s Resolutions for PR Professionals

Join us for our first 2018 luncheon on Wednesday, January 10, at Colonial Country Club!

Kick off the New Year with helpful tips from seasoned PR pros! The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA will host its first luncheon of the year on Wednesday, January 10, at Colonial Country Club. Five esteemed panelists from a variety of PR backgrounds will help us start 2018 on the right foot. What should we focus on this year? What’s better left behind? What skills should we master? What “lifestyle” changes can be sustained year-in and year-out? Our panel is eager to answer these questions and more as we work to stay on top of our PR game in 2018.

Panelists:

  • Lane Borrello, GM Financial
  • Jeff Carlton, UNT Health Science Center
  • Kendal Lake, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
  • Trameika Vaxter, Ware & Associates
  • Gigi Westerman, APR, Fellow PRSA, The S & G Group

Many thanks to our luncheon sponsor Murnahan Public Relations.

When in Nigeria…

As part of her Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship, FWPRSA’s advocacy chair, Amiso George, had the opportunity to give a workshop on “Understanding How Public Relations Can Enhance the Work of HR Managers,” to a variety of companies in Lagos, Nigeria! Thanks for representing FWPRSA all the way from Nigeria, Amiso!

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