Source: Chicago Tribune
The sudden announcement from Apple that Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO is a stark reminder that companies and organizations need to have a media relations plan for the bad news everyone knows is coming, but are not sure just when.
Jobs has been ill for some time, and had taken a medical leave in January. With Jobs and Apple so interconnected, the news that he's relinquinshing daily control of the firm he co-founded in his parents' garage back in 1976 sent Apple shares plummeting.
When difficult circumstances affect a firm's public image and persona, it's essential to have the tough conversations behind the scenes early on about what will be said from a crisis communications and public relations standpoint. In the case of Apple, it was a brief statement released late in the day.
It's important to remember the various constituents who will be affected by such difficult announcements:
There aren't many firms whose identity is so publicly tied with the CEO as are Apple and Jobs. Yet, every organization has a duty to communicate to its stakeholders, no matter how tragic or difficult the circumstances.