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.

Ragan Insider Content

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.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.