CEO’s crisis comms gone wrong: 9 lessons learned

When a train derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic in early July, the chairman of the railway company handled the crisis poorly. Follow these tips to avoid his mistakes.

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One might consider the CEO in the video below a train wreck. Edward Burkhardt, chairman of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railways, waited five days before he visited the crash site and made a statement to the media about the horrible train derailment that destroyed a significant part of downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed 50 people.

His statement lacked a significant, quotable apology to those affected, and focused too much on the technical aspects of dealing with insurance, finances and monetary issues. He even began his statement by defending himself as a compassionate person.

The CEO does not always need to be the spokesperson in a crisis. However, a crisis this big demands an appearance and statement within 24 hours of the onset of the crisis.

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