NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co., believed to be the world's biggest spender on public-relations services in addition to its biggest advertiser, is changing leadership of its PR efforts as Charlotte Otto steps down as global external-relations officer.
Ms. Otto, 55, will leave her global PR role July 1 and remain on special assignment until her retirement on Feb. 15. She'll be replaced by Christopher Hassall, 55, VP-corporate communications and reputation for P&G in North America, who previously headed PR for P&G in China.
According to a plan announced earlier this month, Mr. Hassall will report to CEO Robert McDonald in his role overseeing corporate communications and to Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard in his role overseeing brand-related external relations.
Besides overseeing the world's largest PR budget, Mr. Hassall will oversee what may be the largest corporate PR group in the world. P&G has more than 1,000 people in its global external-relations group, a spokeswoman said in reply to an e-mail query, though she said about a third of that staff covers consumer relations, or P&G's consumer-feedback area, which is supplemented by external contractors in some places, such as the U.S.
Ms. Otto, who has held the global external-relations post for more than a decade, has vastly expanded her function's staffing, influence and integration with the broader branding effort on her watch. P&G has consistently scored top-10 rankings in various corporate-reputation polls, such as Fortune's Most Admired Companies list. Ms. Otto also led P&G to become possibly the first major marketer to prove the value of PR on the same terms package-goods marketers use to measure the impact of other marketing elements: marketing-mix modeling.
"Charlotte Otto leaves a strong track record of results in leveraging external relations to build and protect P&G's business and reputation," P&G Chairman A.G. Lafley said in a statement. He will yield the CEO post to Mr. McDonald July 1.
Ms. Otto "has championed development of influencer marketing for P&G brands and advanced breakthrough work to measure its business-building impact," Mr. Lafley said. "She also sponsored P&G's Live, Learn & Thrive corporate cause, which now improves life for more than 60 million children annually around the world."
Mr. Hassall's track record includes leading the development of P&G's Hope Schools program in China and personally leading P&G's relief program following the May 2008 earthquake in China's Sichuan province.
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Michael Bush contributed to this report.