Howard Chase (Late PR Professional, Academic)

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W. Howard Chase (b January 30, 1910 - d 19 August, 2003) (commonly referred to as Howard Chase) is perhaps best known for coining the term "issues management" in April 1976. [1] Chase worked as "assistant secretary of commerce under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a founder of the Public Relations Society of America, a corporate PR consultant from the 1950's to the 1970's and a PR academic. [2]


After graduating from the University of Iowa, Chase was an editorial writer at the Des Moines Register in the 1930's. "He created the public relations departments at General Mills and General Foods in the 1940's and became public relations director for Eisenhower during the 1952 Republican National Convention. He also served as deputy administrator for the office of Defense Mobilization during part of Eisenhower's presidency." [3] (He worked with General Mills between 1941 and 1945 in Minneapolis). [4]

"He left public service in the 1950's and was a public relations consultant for several large corporations and such public service clients as Keep America Beautiful. In the 1970's he served as vice president and assistant to the chairman for public affairs of the American Can Company," The Holmes Report wrote. [5]

Chase and Issues Management

In an obituary, Tony Jacques, an Australian PR practitioner and a director of the Issue Management Council, wrote that in the "debut edition of the newsletter he founded - Corporate Public Issues and their management - Howard Chase defined the objectives of issue management as: "To introduce and validate a breakthrough in corporate management design and practice in order to manage corporate public policy issues at least as well or better than the traditional management of profit-center operations." [6]

In 1982 Chase was one of the co-founders of the Issue Management Association (now known as the Issue Management Council). "Throughout the 1950s and 1960s in his role as a corporate PR officer, Chase was fascinated with the increasing influence that outside forces exerted on corporations. To respond to these external pressures, CEOs frequently turned for counsel to Chase and other public relations pioneers. But, the request for advice too often came after the damaging lead article, after the punitive legislation was introduced, after the consumer boycott was already organized and the protesters were at the front gate. Chase was convinced that there exists within the company a group of professionals with the network of relationships in place that could alert the organization early on that an issue was brewing. The resulting lead time could enable the company to better respond when trouble hit. Not only that, but often, they could end-run confrontation, even create new markets, by changing products or policies. But, these changes required at least the ear of senior management, and preferably a seat at the management table," Teresa Yancey Crane, one of the founders of Issue Management Council later stated. [7]

Chase was the first Chairman of the association and his work in the area was commemorated in 1988 with the W. Howard Chase Award "to recognize organizational excellence in issue management." [8]

Jacques cited the address that Chase gave at the 1995 awards ceremony at which he stated:

I suggest to you that we are something in addition to facilitators. We are architects. And this is my dream for the future of the Issue Management movement - to do the designing, the architecture, the dreaming of a new form of corporate and social organisation that will take the following form."
The CEO will remain as is, the broad of directors will be above the CEO, but there will be two senior officers reporting directly to the CEO. One will be the senior vice-president, profit center. The other will be the senior vice-president, policy center. Those two will be interrelated by the strategic planning function, with the communications going back and forth. Neither will be able to operate independently of the other. Under policy management will come Issue Management, all the communications functions, employee relations, publications and journalism functions. Under the profit center will come the actual product creation, the marketing and so on."
The design, as I say, is a dream. I don't expect you to adopt it right away. It can happen without any changes at all to the organisation charts, by reason of the human chemistry that is involved. I foresee that people in this group and your successors - there will be successors - will find a higher status than being merely called facilitators. They will find the status of being designers and architects of social and economic organisation." [9]


  • W. Howard Chase, Issue Management: Origins of the Future, Issue Action Publications, September 1985. ISBN 0913869015 ISBN 978-0913869017

Other SourceWatch Resources


  1. Issue Management Council, "What is Issue Management?", accessed August 2007.
  2. "Obituary: Chase, Father of Issues Management, Dead at 1993", The Holmes Report, August 25, 2003, p. 10.
  3. "Obituary: Chase, Father of Issues Management, Dead at 1993", The Holmes Report, August 25, 2003, p. 10.
  4. "Howard Chase, Former Business Professor, Dies" Advance (University of Connecticut newspaper), September 8, 2003.
  5. "Obituary: Chase, Father of Issues Management, Dead at 1993", The Holmes Report, August 25, 2003, p. 10.
  6. Tony Jacques, "Obituaries: Howard Chase", Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, p. 70.
  7. Issue Management Council, "What is Issue Management?", accessed August 2007.
  8. Issue Management Council, "The W. Howard Chase Award", accessed August 2007.
  9. Tony Jacques, "Obituaries: Howard Chase", Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, pp 70.

External links