Contact: Kama Timbrell at 212-903-8315; firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested Interview Questions for Dick Martin
1. Why did you write TOUGH CALLS (AMACOM; November 30, 2004)? Did you plan to
someday “tell all” when you were an AT&T insider in the midst of the company’s
management and strategic turmoil?
2. Many of us still remember the headline news of January 2, 1996: AT&T’s layoff of 40,000
employees. In your view, why did CEO Bob Allen take such drastic downsizing measures?
As the head of PR, did you have advance warning of the announcement? Could you have
done anything to avert the media backlash?
3. Why did the AT&T board hire John Walter, a telecom outsider, to replace Bob Allen? How
did the AT&T board mishandle the whole succession process?
4. What qualities made Mike Armstrong the right man to take AT&T’s helm? How did the
new CEO win over employees and the media?
5. You devote a chapter of TOUGH CALLS to the importance of “casting decisions.” How
were many of AT&T’s problems provoked by personnel issues? What can managers across
the board learn from the tale of Leo Hindery?
6. What exactly do you mean by cautioning business leaders against confusing public relations
7. Beyond mere expansion, what drove Mike Armstrong to acquire cable companies, amassing
billions in debt? How did he lose sight of his guiding strategic vision for the company?
8. What is the real story behind the 2000 “breakup” of AT&T?
9. In TOUGH CALLS, you indict MCI WorldCom as a key player in AT&T’s downfall.
10. How do incidents from AT&T’s tough years demonstrate the power of the media over what
is news in business? Do you have any PR tips to help business leaders with the ongoing
challenge of damage control and image enhancement?
11. Overall, what lessons would you most like businesspeople to take away from TOUGH
12. Did you come to think about AT&T differently while writing TOUGH CALLS? How has
the company changed after the Comcast merger and under the current CEO, David Dorman?
What are your hopes for AT&T’s future?