Experience

Crisis & Issue Management

The CEO calls at midnight to say the company has a crisis.  Immediately you need information: fatalities/injuries, extent of damage and likelihood of worsening.

An operational crisis involves physical company assets and, depending on the severity and the company’s initial response, has limited duration in the public spotlight.  Corporate crises, on the other hand, such as major lawsuits, product recalls or a messy acquisition can persist for weeks or months.

Whether you’re facing an operational crisis, a corporate crisis or some combination of the two, it can be all-consuming for company leaders and communicators to effectively manage a crisis while also tending to normal business.   When much is riding on the outcome, sometimes a crisis requires outside expertise to calmly assess the situation and help bridge to a post-crisis world.

George Smalley is a seasoned crisis responder who has effectively handled scores of crises in both the private and public sectors.  Since private companies and government agencies have distinctly different rules of engagement vis-à-vis traditional media and varying appetites for utilizing social media, Smalley is the rare practitioner who knows what works best in both worlds.  He can formulate strategies and tactics to manage the immediate hotspots and prepare the company for those coming next.  

Below are examples of incidents Smalley has managed:

  • $400 million environmental settlement with the Department of Justice
  • PR response for Shell and Texaco brands in U.S. after 9/11
  • Multiple fatality incidents involving employees and public
  • Oil tanker grounding in Delaware Bay 
  • Multiple pipeline and tank farm controversies with public outcry
  • Multiple lawsuits alleging race discrimination

Smalley acquired and implemented crisis software for a Shell-Texaco-Saudi Aramco downstream alliance shortly after the Y2K scare.  The software, known as PIER (Public Information Emergency Response), continues to be used successfully by Shell throughout the U.S.  

Smalley is a member of Agincourt Strategies' team of crisis experts and a member of O'Brien's Response Management network.