Credit Suisse chairman resigns after flouting COVID restrictions, pregnant women in PR report rising workplace hostility, and PBR’s errant tweeter offers lessons

Also: Uber’s CEO apologizes to dogs, Netflix raises subscription prices, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi apologized to dogs and offered their owners $10 off the next order after several users complained that the doorbells at the end of recent Uber Eats commercials were triggering canine outbursts.

Khosrowshahi offered the apology and the discount after announcing that the company would donate $50,000 to the ASPCA as part of the Betty White challenge, a virtual event to raise money for animal welfare organizations that took place Jan. 17, what would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday.

While there’s never a wrong time to remind audiences you’re listening, bundling your specific customer commitments to relevant charitable contributions never hurts.

Here are today’s top stories:

Credit Suisse chairman resigns following investigation

António Horta-Osório announced that he will resign as the chairman of international bank Credit Suisse following reports that he violated quarantine protocols by traveling from London to Zurich this past November and attending the Wimbledon finals in July. Horta- Osório will be replaced by Axel Lehmann, a former senior executive for UBS.

According to the press release:

Mr. Horta-Osório said: “I have worked hard to return Credit Suisse to a successful course, and I am proud of what we have achieved together in my short time at the bank. Credit Suisse’s strategic realignment will provide for a clear focus on strengthening, simplifying and investing for growth. I am convinced that Credit Suisse is well positioned today and on the right track for the future. I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally. I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time. I wish my colleagues at Credit Suisse every success for the future.”

Axel Lehmann, Chairman of Credit Suisse, said: “I would like to thank the Board for the trust it has placed in me and look forward to working even more closely with the Board and the Executive Board. We have set the right course with the new strategy and will continue to embed a stronger risk culture across the firm. By executing our strategic plan in a timely and disciplined manner, without distraction, I am convinced that Credit Suisse will demonstrate the renewed strength and business focus needed to generate sustainable value for all of our stakeholders.”

What it means:

Horta-Osório’s statement is structured to intentionally put focus on his accomplishments before his apology, while Lehmann’s statement and its reference to “risk culture” signals the bank’s ongoing efforts to recover from the Archegos Capital Management disaster which cost the firm $5 billion.

This demonstrates how a leadership change or restructuring brought about by negative behavior can still provide an opportunity to reinforce your brand values and highlight the positive parts of your culture.


A recent study by Global Women in PR found that 60% of women who worked during their pregnancy experienced negativity in the workplace in 2021, an increase of 7% compared to 2020. Among those who experienced prejudice, 30% said that co-workers felt their career was no longer a priority, 24% said that they didn’t feel supported and 23% said people treated them differently.

These findings suggest that empathy for female co-workers going through major life changes has decreased alongside the rise of remote and hybrid work, a time when the lines of work/life balance are likely to blur.

Creating employee resource groups (ERGs) focused around parenting and maternity can be an effective way to create space for dialogue that allows pregnant employees or new mothers to share their challenges, while taking time to spotlight successful stories of new mothers transitioning back to the office (with their consent and participation). Such efforts can frame your organization as a family-friendly place to work, and help keep top talent in the building.

Check out the full report here.


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Survey takers will receive an executive summary of the findings.


Netflix has announced plans to raise the monthly price of its subscription plans. The price changes will take effect instantly for new customers, and Netflix will notify current members 30 days before their price changes take effect.

Variety reports:

“We understand people have more entertainment choices than ever and we’re committed to delivering an even better experience for our members,” a Netflix rep said in a statement, using the same language the last time the streamer raised prices. The spokesperson added, “We’re updating our prices so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options. As always we offer a range of plans so members can pick a price that works for their budget.”

By beginning with understanding, Netflix positions its price change as a difficult choice made to compete in a crowded market and offer a premium experience. Netflix’s statement demonstrates the power of putting stakeholders first in your change messaging—even when the change seems to go against their interests.

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Canned PBR employee offers lessons from Twitter debacle

Corey Smale, who was fired from beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon after sharing a lewd message from the brand account, has shared advice for how communicators should represent their employers on Twitter.

Though the offending tweet was quickly removed, its memory lived on in the news cycle:

Smale told Adweek:

“There’s a level of accountability that has to be understood, I guess, when a brand represents itself in its voice. It’s tricky, because you’re talking in Twitter language, you know what I mean? But at the same time, you’re held accountable for the way those words impact business way beyond Twitter.

Another is understanding the levels of accountability and responsibility in the hands of the social media manager or the community manager. Because that affects everybody—even someone in accounting who isn’t on Twitter.

Maybe [Twitter is] the thing that brings everyone together. That could be cool. You could have people in accounting being like, “I’m taking over the Twitter on Wednesdays.” I want everyone to feel represented and everyone to feel like, “Yeah, I’m involved in this, and I back this.”

Why it matters:

Though your messaging style can change slightly depending on the channel or social media platform where you post, the quirks of each channel should serve your brand voice—not the other way around.

With his words about encouraging accountability and internal collaboration around a brand’s social media strategy, Smale makes a case for arming all employees with brand voice and style guides for social media, including social media best practices into your crisis and scenario trainings, and developing a communications strategy that empowers your social media team to interact with other departments to ensure they are properly representing every facet of the business.


One Response to “Credit Suisse chairman resigns after flouting COVID restrictions, pregnant women in PR report rising workplace hostility, and PBR’s errant tweeter offers lessons”

    Ronald N Levy says:

    Notice the difference in PR savvy shown by two news items above.

    CREDIT SUISSE has a basic corporate announcement. The new chairman shows that he caress about (a) the company, (b) the board and even (c) the executive board but with nothing we read here about the public.

    NETFLIX has a more difficult announcement, not a new executive but a price rise. Yet Netflix shows with three lines in a brief announcement how Netflix
    CARES about the public and is eager to SERVE the public.

    .1. “We’re committed to delivering an even better experience for our members.”

    .2. “We’re updating our prices so we can continue to offer a wide variety of entertainment options.”

    .3. “As always we offer a range of plans so members can pick a price that works for their budget.”

    Beautiful! Not “customers” but “members.” Not “raising” but “updating”
    prices. And care about not just our company, our board and even the executive board but care about our members and more entertainment choices
    than ever.

    An EVP for I think Ketchum (maybe it was Porter Novelli) had the nerve to write for PR Daily that success in PR is not a PR plan that sounds good nor a PR effort that looks good but PR results that ARE good for sales or public esteem or another objective. Many in PR don’t see it that boldly and are happy if the client is impressed. But there’s growing admiration for PR HEROISM that motivates consumers to buy and political leaders to avoid damaging a heroic company.

    So we see growth in CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility which might be better called Corporate Social Opportunity. It’s one form of PR heroism, doing more for the public than a company has to. Then gaining the results that the company deserves. The Netflix announcement of a price increase doesn’t rise to the level of demonstrating corporate heroism but we can see how it’s better than a new CEO expressing care about his company, board and executive board but not the public.

    PR heroism is perhaps not just what some companies do for the public but what some PR execs do for their companies. PR heroism helps create what the Ketchum (or PN) EVP says PR is really about, not sounding good but creating RESULTS that are good or even better than that. I can’t even remember the EVP’s name but I’d guess she’s a kid because older PR execs may be much less willing to say in effect “judge us not by what we say but by what results you get.” That boldness is almost heroic.

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