In reply to a story we ran in Crikey’s subscriber only email on the
Labor connected PR firm CPR, Adam Kilgour, CEO of CPR has written into
Crikey to set the record straight. See the original item and his
response below:

Is CPR bidding farewell to Perth?

Crikey email – 17 February

The
Labor connected PR firm CPR, which has received a few mentions in
Crikey over the years, appears to be in the process of chewing off its
underperforming Perth office.

The office was opened by
former State Labor MLC and ALP true believer John Halden who walked out
a couple of years ago to establish his own shop with close friend Anne
Burns, a former political hack on The West Australian.

In
November last year, CPR dumped newly appointed Perth general manager
Stewart Richmond after about 10 weeks in the job. Richmond, a former EP
at Today Tonight and Network Director of News at TEN
was lured away from his job as PR Manager for the AMA in WA with
promises of a good future with CPR. He left without making a fuss.
Adelaide’s GM Colin James was let go the same day, as was a staffer in
Brisbane.

Now it has come to our attention that the longest
serving member of CPR’s Perth staff, Jodie Parry, has been sacked by
letter. Word has it she was told in no uncertain terms to get out after
resigning and is considering legal action.

The remaining
CPR staffer, Jo Hocking, has apparently also resigned. With the lease
on their St Georges Terrace offices up in March or April does this
spell the end for CPR’s unhappy foray into the world of Perth public
relations?

The man firing all the bullets for CPR is chief
operating officer Cameron O’Reilly, someone who was obviously well
trained by Labor hard men such as Laurie Brereton and Michael Knight.

Maybe
this is a case of life as a listed company not fitting very well the
personal nature of PR consultancies. Then again, shares in Photon, the
owner of CPR, have performed well since they were floated at $2 a pop
last May. Today they closed 3c higher at $2.95.

If you’d like to call the booming CPR Perth office and ask to speak to their gaggle of consultants, try (08) 9421 1668.

Maybe
they are smarter than we think and have worked out that Colin Barnett
is likely to become Premier next month, meaning less work for a Labor
shop like CPR.

CPR CEO replies to Crikey

Crikey,

Contrary to your tip-off, CPR is committed to the WA market. We have valued clients in Perth and capacity to serve and deliver.

Without depriving Mrs Crikey’s ad revenue (Mr Beecher might be
reading), can you let your readers know we are recruiting senior public
affairs professionals for our Perth office and our acting WA manager
Josh Williams would love to hear from interested people at [email protected].

On the story itself. It is true Stewart Richmond was let go after
the 3 month probationary period on his contract expired in December 04.
Stewart would I think agree that he was not a good fit for us. Before
Stewart took the Perth Managers job, CPR’s Perth business was
profitable and when he left it was not. Josh Williams has since turned
the office around and it is again profitable.

Jodie Parry had known Stewart for some years before joining CPR. She
resigned soon after he did. I can only think she did so in sympathy.
She told us in her resignation letter that she had enjoyed her time at
CPR. She has since been in contact with us through her lawyer at the
Mental Health Legal Centre in Perth but no legal action has been
instigated as suggested by your tipster.

I was very sad when Jo Hocking resigned the other day. Jo is a very
professional and capable operator. As you may know, Jo worked for
National Party MPs before joining CPR and told us she had resigned in
anticipation of a WA Coalition victory and that she wanted to work for
an in-coming WA Coalition government. Jo should probably back her
convictions and get some of the $2.55 at Michael Sullivan’s Sportingbet
for the WA Coalition win. In the event Mr Barnett is not Premier in a
week or so, Jo would always be welcome back at CPR. In the event the
Coalition wins, Mr Barnett should snap Jo up.

You always call CPR a Labor friendly firm. As one of the country’s
largest Public Affairs firms and part of a listed group, we could not
survive if we were just a bunch of “Labor mates”. Granted there are a
few, but we also have happy ex-coalition staffers in offices around the
country who have great networks and professional skills our clients can
and do use.

Finally, your tipster unfairly singled out Cameron O’Reilly, our
Chief Operating Officer as “firing the bullets”. Everyone in our
industry acknowledges Cameron is an absolute gun, but the decision on
Stewart’s departure was one made by our executive management group and
endorsed by our board, based on objective measures.

Hope this clears things up and thanks for right of reply.

Adam Kilgour
CEO – CPR Communications & Public Relations Pty Ltd