Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The WSJ Health Blog: Brown-Nosing CEO's?

The WSJ Health Blog is a great blog, no question about it. And it is written by two great healthcare reporters, Scott Hensley and Jacob Goldstein. And sometimes someone else chips in.

Today WSJ health reporter Ron Winslow did just that.

In a piece, called Trust: The Secret Sauce for CEO’s Cooking, which I can't help but feel was meant to improve the Wall Street Journal's access to Daniel Vasella, Novartis CEO, Winslow covered Kathy Bloomgarden.

Kathy Bloomgarden, who is the CEO of the "big PR firm Ruder-Finn," has written a book called Trust: The Secret Weapon of Effective Business Leaders, yada yada yada, and it was launched at the "Conde Nast building in New York’s Times Square."

I know, I know, this starts to sound like a celebrity gossip party, right?

And the WSj Health Blog reports breathlessly that Bloomgarten "is known most prominently at the Health Blog as uber-confidante of Novartis’ CEO Dan Vasella. We thought her observations about the executive suite might have special relevance for Health Blog readers."

Don't think so.

I think the WSJ Health blog is kissing butt. And so does the very senior journalist who tipped me off to this story.

If you don't believe me, here's how the post describes the food: "bites of cilantro-grilled shrimp, onion tarts and chicken satay."

And it ends, breathlessly:

" . . . the Health Blog combed Bloomgarden’s book for insights.

Her prescription for CEOs includes the following advice:

  • Build a leadership “brand” based on core personal values and communicate it throughout the company.

  • Listen twice as much as you speak to learn different perspectives from employees, customers and critics.

  • Be open, honest and transparent.

  • Commit to strong corporate governance policies.

  • Embrace responsibility to the communities where you are based and to constituencies in need.

I guess, based on Big Pharma's ongoing fiasco in the PR area, you can only come to one of two conclusions:

Either the work the PR consultants do for Big Pharma stinks.

Or, the highly paid PR professionals can't convince their clients to take some good advoice.

Hardly the perfect background to write a book.

As for the WSJ Health Blog, this is a great blog. Especially when Scott Hensley and Jacob Goldstein write. And you just have to forgive the corporate parent, whom I also love, if they have to do some butt-kissing, to get access to those all-important CEO's.

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