Google and Larry’s Laryngitis

 Google and Larrys Laryngitis

The PR Verdict: The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Google. (Pictured: Google CEO Larry Page.)

Larry Page, Google’s CEO, regrets he is unable to lunch today. And not just today, it seems, but all the way into mid July. The reason? Larry has “lost his voice” and “can’t do any public speaking engagements for the time being,” says Google. That includes the second quarter earnings conference in three weeks’ time. His voice is gone, and it isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The announcement has spooked investors. In an industry that endlessly speculated about the on again, off again health of Steve Jobs at Apple, this sort of news gets the rumor mill activated. Google says it is business as usual and that Page is “OK”  and continuing to run the company. “He’s running all the strategy business decisions and all that,” reassures Google.

Not all investors buy it. JP Morgan described the announcement as ”odd,” and others are wondering. One told the Wall Street Journal that the decision to miss an earning call was “highly unusual.” He said, “It’s hard to imagine a CEO missing that much stuff and not having a serious problem,” echoing what could become a rumbling chorus.

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Google. Who knows what the real situation is, but this explanation doesn’t reassure the market. Already suspicion is growing that Google is being less than frank.

PR Takeaway: Don’t over-complicate. Let’s face it, losing your voice doesn’t last three weeks. If Page can’t speak at earnings in three weeks’ time, it’s not a bad idea to flag it beforehand–but why not suggest that he’s having a minor medical procedure/treatment that will put him out of action for a fixed period? Use calming words to minimize the fuss and reinforce that it’s not market moving and material. Something is up, and now Google has more explaining to do. It might have been easier to have been straightforward from the start.

Should Google have anticipated investor worries, or is this a case of the truth just not being good enough these days? Give us your PR Verdict, below.

 

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What is Your PR Verdict?

  1. Paul Marrone says:

    Completely agree with PRV. Complete transparency is the goal and takes the speculation out of a situation such as this with Google. The responsibilty to shareholders is paramount as share price can be affected by this shortcoming in corporate communications.

  2. Here is my reflection on odd “diplomatic” illnesses: how about the Greek finance minister resigning before he has taken office on account of health, and, on the same day, the new, not yet internationally introduced prime minister, Samaras, checking himself into a hospital for “minor” eye surgery which will prevent him from attending the “historical” EU summit this week. Instead, Greece will be represented by its 85-year old President Papoulias who cannot be told anything nor can he decide on anything at all…But then Greec cannot possibly do worse on the P.R front and anything is better than new “concessions” to Frau Merkel…

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  1. BizSugar.com says:

    Google and Larry’s Laryngitis…

    The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Google. Who knows what the real situation is, but this explanation doesn’t reassure the market. Already suspicion is growing that Google is being less than frank….

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