'Hood Resigns as UPI Vice President'



Here's a story by Andrew Radolf from the Nov. 28, 1987 edition of Editor & Publisher:

JOINS FORMER UPI EXEC MILT BENJAMIN'S CONSULTING FIRM

James R. Hood, who just one month ago wrote a lengthy defense of United Press International's $2.5 million contract with the U.S. Information Agency (E&P, Oct. 24), has resigned as vice president for broadcast services of the news service.

Hood will join the Washington, D.C., consulting firm of Anderson, Benjamin, Read & Haney Inc., as a senior consultant and work mostly on marketing issues, said Milton Benjamin, one of the principals.

Benjamin left the consulting firm in 1986 in order to become president of UPI. He rejoined the firm in April 1987 after resigning from UPI in a management dispute with owner Mario Vazquez Rana.

During his brief tenure as UPI's president, Benjamin hired Hood in February 1987 to handle broadcast development for the news service. Hood came to UPI from The Associated Press where he had been deputy director for broadcast services.

UPI officials, including executive vice president Claude Hippeau, said that Hood was not planning to resign at the time he wrote the article which was published Oct. 24 in E&P. They denied any deception with UPI when he requested that E&P publish his defense of the USIA deal.

Hood wanted to rebut charges that UPI, by signing a contract to transmit USIA releases overseas, had compromised its editorial integrity.

"There was no hint he was going to resign," Hippeau said. "This was a comparatively recent thing."

There were conflicting accounts of Hood's departure.

According to several sources, who asked for confidentiality, Hood had worked out an arrangement with UPI to become a consultant. The agreement, they said, allowed him to keep an office at UPI's Washington headquarters and also have outside clients.

However, these sources said, when UPI owner Mario Vazquez Rana learned that Benjamin's firm was one of Hood's clients, he ordered that UPI end its relationship with Hood.

Hood resigned "for personal reasons," according to Hippeau.

"We tried to work out something by which he would remain as a consultant," Hippeau said. "We tried it for a couple of weeks but it doesn't really work. We've got to have a marketing executive full time."

Hippeau denied that Hood left UPI over a dispute with Vazquez.

"There is no bad blood between Jim and us," he said. "He felt by going to this new group of persons it offered a larger scope of personal development."

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