Former PR Newswire executive John Williams dies

Dec 01, 2011
<p>Colleagues pay tribute to innovator who helped transform PR Newswire in his 24 years at the firm</p>

John Williams, the former executive vice president of PR Newswire who spent 24 years at the firm and played a key role in its expansion in China, died unexpectedly last week at the age of 66.

‘He is credited as being a pivotal player in transforming PR Newswire into a cutting-edge distributor of information to the media, general public and financial community,’ the firm notes in a statement.

John WilliamsWilliams joined PR Newswire in 1986 as senior vice president for all sales and marketing in the US, following a career in public relations, journalism and the military. At the firm, he oversaw the introduction of ‘T-button’ press releases in 2001 that allowed readers to buy shares at the click of a button.

A year later, he pushed for a joint venture in China with Xinhua News Agency and ended up taking over sales and marketing for the project. PR Newswire took full control of the venture in 2008.

PR Newswire employees past and present have paid tribute to the impact Williams had at the company. ‘He had a keen sense of knowing where the economic levers of power would change globally and what opportunities lay within,’ says Dave Armon, former president of PR Newswire, in the statement. ‘He was way ahead of his time.’

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