Chrysler Fires PR Supremo Jason Vines

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

We have it on good authority (from two independent sources, as required by All The President's Men) that Chrysler PR Chief Jason Vines was given the old heave-ho. This morning's Detroit News further substantiates the story. Scribe Eric Morath reports that Chrysler has "realigned" its communications team. They will now report to the head of human resources rather than the chief executive, indicating that their focus will switch from external to internal communications. The News speculates that the move is also designed to plunge the privately owned company into [relative] radio silence– which would suit the outspoken, combative Vines about as well as an actual muzzle. This from Gerald Meyers, the former chairman of AMC and current University of Michigan biz prof: "They're not trying to be public, they're not trying to be popular, they're not trying to be transparent. Private equity work very hard to be opaque and they probably won't miss a PR person who helped put things into black and white." Needless to say, the News ends its report with some positive spin. Mike Szudarek, a partner at Farmington Hills-based public relations firm Marx Layne & Co., sees the silver lining. "I think it's a positive move that breaks down silos and helps integrate internal and external communications." We shall see… Meanwhile, we invite Mr. Vines to contact TTAC when he bails on Auburn Hills in the New Year.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Blunozer Blunozer on Dec 11, 2007

    Heh... They dont call him "Boot'em" Bob Nardelli for nothing! If I worked for Chrysler, I'd really be keeping my resume at the ready right now.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 11, 2007

    This is not unusual at all for private equity. The main value of PR to the bottom line is protection of the stock value. Further value is derived by the executives whom the PR people continuously make look good. When you see a story in Forbes about the latest trends in a business, it's creation has usually started or at least been nurtured by the PR pro's as much as by the author. Private equity prefers hard values they can see on the books because they want to sell the company. Why pay millions for a staff of folks whose value is hard to see on the balance sheets if you plan to sell the company? The fact that the new stock holders now will have the risk, task and expense of building a new team is usually overlooked by them. Remember, if Exxon had handled it better, you would not today remember the Exxon Valdez and Prince William Sound. Instead, it's ingrained in your brain, and cost them hundreds of millions extra.

  • Jason Vines Jason Vines on Jan 16, 2008

    Hey folks. I have enjoyed reading your site for some time. Sorry I didn't get to you sooner, but better late than never. Your two "sources" that claim I got the ol "Heave ho" are one of the following: 1) Liars, or 2) Liars I'll keep reading. Keep up the good work. Jason

  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Jan 16, 2008

    Jason Vines: So you're saying you didn't get fired? If you can prove it, we'll issue a retraction and an apology.

    I suppose asking you to prove a negative is a bit like asking "When did you last beat your wife?" So if you could provide us with the exact details surrounding your decision to leave Chrysler's top PR slot, I would also consider a strategic withdrawal-- and give my sources an appropriate tongue-lashing.

    And while you're at it, can you also explain how putting Chrysler's PR functions under human resources had nothing to do with your decision to leave? (Notice I didn't put quote marks around "decision." Damn!)

    Of course, a podcast (so we can verify that it is, verily, you) would also help in this regard. You can contact me at