For years, Fred Alger Management has been adept at drawing the attention of the media and the industry. There was the proficiency of Fred Alger, who founded the firm in 1964. There were the eccentricities of younger brother, David Alger, who took over the firm in 1989. There was also the relationship between the pair, Fred, the planner, and David, the inspirer who carried out the plans--and then some.
The press loved these stories. But, after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, where Fred Alger Management kept an office on the 93rd floor of the North Tower, Jim Connelly, the firm's marketing exec, has had to deal with an avalanche of press attention while trying to rebuild and deal with horrific losses.
David Alger was killed on Sept. 11. So were 37 of his 55 employees who worked in the North Tower. Within 24 hours Fred Alger announced that he would return from retirement and lead the firm to recovery. The press didn't like these stories, but it wanted to tell them.
So, the task of handling a new brand of public relations fell mostly on Jim Connelly, a vice chairman of mutual funds, who has been with Fred Alger Management for 16 years and has historically handled its marketing and communications. During the past six weeks, Connelly has dealt with a PR crisis of unprecedented proportions.
He has had to communicate with the families of lost workers. He has had to assure retail investors that their assets are secure and inform them of the firm's plans. He has had to talk with edgy institutional investors, some of which have taken their business elsewhere. And, he has had to talk with the reporters who have been inquiring about Alger's efforts to rebuild--and rebuild quickly.