A place for transparent communications during turbulent times

A place for transparent communications during turbulent times

Communication | Judette Coward-Puglisi

February 2, 2009

Mr. Lawrence Duprey of CL Financial


As I poured over the news of the government’s bailout of CL Financial, I didn’t only think about my policies and investments throughout the Group, I also thought about my myriad of friends who work in the various companies. For me, the story behind the story always involves the human element and I would bet that my peers and friends at CLICO, CMMB, CIB and Angostura woke up every day this weekend thinking that tomorrow will not be better then today. How could they?

I can’t claim in this case to be fair or impartial.  I love the CL Financial story. It resonates with me the history of its entrepreneurship, bravado, risks and growth. Mr Lawrence Duprey, who I have long admired, didn’t present a picture of hope last Friday. He kept his eyes glued to the speech, his tone was sombre, the jowls, which typically gather around his cheekbones, seemed to droop a bit lower that day.

Still his admittance of making a mistake, his messages of being proactive in his approaches to government, and his desire to be cooperative bodes well.  The side effects of CL Financial picture are not going to be pleasant in the next few weeks. Many are scared for their jobs, their investments, their livelihood. It was good that Mr Duprey stoically stood in the in front of the glare of cameras. 

I hope he continues to stand solidly. I also wish that he remains visible to his employees and agents as the waters grow more turbulent, and it must before it settles.  I hope he relies on his communicators as much as he does finance and legal team.  

In the murky waters,  a space should be  created for the CLICO community to contribute their  experiences and views, providing real context to the stories and messages during this phase. I hope that in the midst of all the cutting, slicing and dicing with the attendant loss of jobs and shuttering of businesses, that open advocacy and authentic and transparent PR remains a key. It is the only way to get the employees and investors through this. 


9 thoughts on “A place for transparent communications during turbulent times

  1. I was shocked and scared when I heard the news, to think that CL Financial, the bench mark of how to run a financial empire, was in trouble. But I agree with you, Mr. Duprey has to remain visible not only to his employees and agents but to people like myself who has invested some of their hard earned money in what they thought would be an institution that would never wither.

  2. Transparency and communication. Key elements in business and in life.
    For many they are as elusive as the proverbial Holy Grail. From the
    perspective of someone who had to manage fall out as a result of the situation,
    it offered an opportunity to practise what we preach. We made sure our
    employees got a message from the Group CEO, individual Business Unit heads
    sent messages to their staff, we prepared FAQs for worried clients and
    policyholders, we did ads regionally, and got our subject matter experts on air.
    These things have a ripple effect and the swift decisive action by Government
    was great until it began to fall apart at the seams. Panic can cause distress to more companies (Republic?) and, by extension, more families. Still, transparency and
    communication remain critical in the drive to contain the contagion.

  3. Maria, I also like how Republic Bank’s messaging has been unfolding… assurances, respecting individual’s right, and talking about their conservative approach to investing. All the key messages have been from the top: CEO and from the group marketing manager. And they have been consistent and regular and respectful.

    As in your example Maria, while the free fall continues I consider these cases stand-out PR moments

  4. It just goes to show Duprey don"t care about people,when these so called business " TYCOONS" accumilate vast wealth they view the HUMAN RESOURCE as assets.Assets that can be discarded and exploited as they see fit,but they forget GOD DOH SLEEP!They definitely hung their hats where their hands can"t reach.

  5. It just goes to show Duprey don"t care about people,when these so called business " TYCOONS" accumilate vast wealth they view the HUMAN RESOURCE as assets.Assets that can be discarded and exploited as they see fit,but they forget GOD DOH SLEEP!They definitely hung their hats where their hands can"t reach.

  6. Did you hear about a Adolf Merckel, Wayne.? He’s the German billionaire who lost billions in VW and then jumped in front a moving train. A very sad story but he said something instructive which I think shows the mark of every entrepreneur. When chided for the loses, he said: " it was taking such risks that enabled him to build his empire and create so many jobs in the first place."

    Maybe you know somethings that I don’t Wayne, but I don’t think Mr Duprey accumulated wealth on the backs the human resources. I think the best minds were attracted to CL Financial and its companies, many stayed for the compensation, the benefits, the feeling that they were part of something meaningful.

    This perhaps a story perhaps of better governance and regulation and a demonstration of how tightly linked we are in a global economy. It’s not one about human resource exploitation.

  7. Yes I heard of the German guy that did a Kamikaze.My point is with all the turmoil in the Global Economy,the Executive of CL FInancial should have prepared the Company for the bump(s).In the end who suffers?The Employees,always keep in mind in bad times all Conglomerates do their best to effectively manage operating costs.And we all know staff (The Human Resource) gets the first run at the chopping block.I am a person that dislikes INJUSTICE,Mr.Duprey came to the press conference last week in a Honda Civic he would normally be driven a higher profile vehicle(BMW,AUDI,MERCEDES).Now is the time for Business Executives to held accountable for their folly and gross mismanagement.These people feel they bright,too bright.

  8. Bear in mind also, it is not about hte chopping and changing, but more about how it is all done, and how the HR departement and the communications department work together to make sure that the changes and transitions take place smoothly and in the best interest, humanly possible at the time, of the employees and their families.

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