Eric Rosenthal Reports

Thoughts and observations about issues, trends, and controversies in the cancer community.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ACS’s ‘Transformative Effort’ Changes Slightly with Sudden Switch of Corporate Communications Structure



When OT reported in September that Richard Wender, MD, would be joining the American Cancer Society this month as its first Chief Cancer Control Officer, ACS President Greg Bontrager said Wender was the latest senior official to join the “cancer continuum team,” which he described as being “part of a transformative effort designed to save even more lives from cancer.”


In addition to Bontrager and Wender, that team was then comprised of ACS CEO John Seffrin, PhD; Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Otis W. Brawley, MD; ACS CAN President Chris Hansen; Senior VP for Field Operations Joe Cahoon; National VP for Corporate Communications Greg Donaldson; and Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Lin MacMaster, who was hired earlier this year to lead the newly combined operations.


But word out of Atlanta headquarters late last week was that Donaldson “was no longer with ACS,” according to VP for Media Relations Tara Peters whom I interviewed by phone earlier today.


Peters said that for the time being the corporate communications function would now be added to MacMaster’s responsibilities of revenue and marketing, and that Amy Swygert, who had been VP for Organizational Communications, had assumed the interim lead for corporate communications.


Peters said that in the past, MacMaster and Donaldson had discussed a more tightly integrated marketing and corporations operation, but would not comment further about Donaldson’s departure after 14 years.


I also asked Peters about what seemed to be a growing number of ACS media relations contacts who had left the organization within the past several months, and she said that the transformative effort included eliminating staff positions, rewriting job descriptions, and asking incumbents to reapply for the new positions.


She noted that some chose to reapply and serve in new roles and others left for other opportunities, and that the change of job descriptions and titles was part of ACS’s plan to offer parity throughout its staff located in Atlanta and across the country. This was a reflection of last year’s organizational structure change that eliminated regional divisions, which had formerly been incorporated separately, into one national corporation, she said.


“Our mission hasn’t changed. We’re reinventing ways to meet the need of fighting cancer, and our talent has been aligned differently around the work.”