Northwest Airlines has been a busy bee of late. Sure, there is that little merger deal it thrashed out with Delta Air Lines. But the SkyTeam member has also been quietly replacing its entire public relations team.
Fellow journalists, especially those on newswire-tight deadlines, may share my frustration at how Northwest press contacts seemingly disappeared overnight. So what the heck happened?
I went to Northwest VP - corporate communications Tammy Lee for the answer. She says: "We don't comment on specific personnel issues but, at a high-level, unique business environments require unique talent. We needed to assemble a media relations team that was prepared to handle a complex merger situation.
"This environment is fast-paced, frenetic and stressful. It's not everyone who wants to work in this kind of environment and it's not everyone who is suited to it. In a merger situation, you need the dream communications team of those who can do the job and those who want to be here."
As Northwest pushes to merge with Delta under the Delta brand, it is safe to say that further changes will take place. Just ask Neal Cohen - essentially Northwest's second in command, who is leaving the firm in June.
However, the new Northwest PR team appears ensconced for now, and includes media relations managers Michelle Aguayo Shannon, Kristin Baur and Robert Laughlin. All three report to Lee, who joined the carrier in October 2007.