For more than 40 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. He is a coach, counselor, teacher, writer, and speaker whose clients include some of the largest and best-known companies and organizations in the world.
Fred is president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group and executive director of the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership. He is based in New York and has worked with clients in dozens of countries on six continents.
Fred has 40 years of experience counseling securities firms, banks, insurance companies, specialized financial and professional service firms, corporations, not-for-profits, and governments. He has particular expertise in crisis, change, and risk management; crisis communication; international security issues; international financial transactions; corporate governance; business ethics; and executive leadership.
Fred has coached more than 400 CEOs of major corporations, plus thousands of other high-profile people in other complex fields, including doctors, scientists, lawyers, financial executives, military officers, and government officials. These executives, on six continents, were in industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, energy, heavy manufacturing, biotechnology, computer software, financial services, law firms, advertising agencies, religious denominations, universities, and not-for-profit advocacy groups. In the 1980s he worked at leading public relations firms and served as head of public relations for a global investment bank and for a large public accounting firm. Through the 1990s Fred headed the crisis practice of a leading strategic communication consulting firm.
Fred is a highly sought keynote and motivational speaker. He has keynoted major conferences and events in the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Fred speaks about leadership communication, crisis management, business ethics, journalist/source relationships, and ways to maintain trust in difficult situations.
Fred has been on the New York University faculty since 1988. He is an adjunct professor of management in NYU’s Stern School of Business. He teaches crisis management in the MS in Risk Management program and in the Executive MBA program, where he was named Executive MBA Great Professor. He is an adjunct associate professor of management and communication in NYU’s School of Professional Studies, MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program, where he twice received the Dean’s award for teaching excellence, in 1990 and in 2017. He also received awards for outstanding service and for 30 years service in teaching. In that program he teaches courses in communication strategy; in communication ethics, law, and regulation; and in crisis communication.
Fred is an adjunct associate professor of professional development and leadership at Columbia University, where he teaches ethics, crisis, and leadership in the Professional Development and Leadership program of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Fred is also a Senior Fellow in the Institute of Corporate Communication at Communication University of China in Beijing. For eight years until 2015 Fred served on the leadership faculty of the Center for Security Studies of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland, where he taught an intensive seminar in the Master’s in Advanced Studies in Crisis Management and Security Policy. He has also served on the adjunct faculty of the Starr King School for the Ministry – Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, where for six years he taught a seminar on religious leadership for social change. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, U.S. Defense Information School, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, U.S. Air Force Air War College, the Brookings Institution, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and other universities around the world.
Fred is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. He is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America, and has received the Society’s New York Chapter’s Philip Dorf Award for mentoring and its John W. Hill award for lifetime achievement.
Fred has an MA in philosophy from Columbia University and two graduate certificates in classical Greek language and literature from the Latin/Greek Institute of the City University of New York Graduate Center. He has a BA with honors in politics and philosophy from New York University, where he was named a University Honors Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Mount Saint Mary College.
Fred is also a member of the Advisory Board of The Banyan Project, a group of senior journalists, technologists, researchers, strategists and advocates for a stronger democracy. Banyan aims to strengthen democracy through high-quality, web-based journalism that engages the civic energy of less-than-affluent everyday citizens — people who are the bread and butter of American life but are ill-served by mainstream journalism and too often out of the public spotlight.
Volume 45, Issue 6 (2017) | “Why do some leaders and the organizations they lead overcome potentially catastrophic crisis without any meaningful harm to their reputation? And why do other leaders and their organizations go through similarly threatening crises but end up with their reputation in tatters and battered stock price, shaken stakeholder confidence, and plummeting employee productivity?” This article in this peer-reviewed leadership journal excerpts key concepts from The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in Crisis.
Fall, 2017 | “The difference between leaders who handle crises well and those who handle crises poorly is mental readiness — the ability some leaders exhibit to make smart choices quickly in a crisis. And this ability creates real competitive advantage.” This article in the Public Relations Society of America’s Public Relations Strategist, Crisis Issue, excerpts key concepts from The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in Crisis.
December 2013 | Every year the United States Marine Corps commissions an essay that challenges the Marines to perform better in the future. Past Maj. Gen. Richard C. Schulz Memorial Essayists include Jim Webb, later United States Senator, and Gen. Bernard Trainor, later chief military correspondent for the New York Times. Helio Fred Garcia was invited to be the 2013 Schulze essayist. The essay, adapted from The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively, exhorts Marines to see their work as winning hearts and minds as well as battles. It was published in the professional journal of the United States Marine Corps, the Marine Corps Gazette.
Volume 40 Issue 6 (2012) | “BP CEO Tony Hayward faced a crowd of reporters on a Venice, Louisiana dock on May 30, 2010, forty days after the company’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig had exploded, killing eleven, injuring dozens and beginning a gusher that pumped ﬁve million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. … Hayward’s statement had the opposite of its intended effect.”
August 2012 | “A year ago, Netflix had a sterling reputation and loyal customers. It had become a leader in the home video rental business by leapfrogging rivals such as Blockbuster and offering an easy-to-use service with easy-to-understand pricing. … But on July 12, customers’ in-boxes contained a note from Netflix.”
July 2012 | “Two years ago BP CEO Tony Hayward inadvertently got his wish when, in the thick of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, he told the press, ‘I want my life back.’ … It was a massive failure of leadership. And it began with a failure of communication and a failure of discipline.”
29 June 2012 | “Social media has obliterated the distinction between inside and outside, internal communication and external communication, public and private. Now, more than ever, leaders need to be strategic in how they approach their key audiences. Effectively engaging with key audiences is no longer a nice-to-have quality; it’s a must-have.”
13 June 2012 | “Apologies to Yogi Berra, but the Sage of the Yankees could have been describing the current state of corporate communications. So far, ’s crop of missteps is eerily familiar, with boards and chief executive officers apparently following the playbooks of some of the worst-handled crises of recent years.”
1 June 2012 | “Tony Hayward, then CEO of BP, told the media in 2010 that he wanted his life back. He got it, but not in the way he intended. His quote was part of an ineffective attempt to show he cared about the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.”
8 May 2012 | “To better appreciate the role of emotion and what it allows an audience to do, we need to take a brief detour into evolutionary biology. The human brain can be understood as three separate brains working in tandem, if not completely integrated with each other.”
Volume 36 Issue 3 (2008) | Helio Fred Garcia and Anthony Ewing collaborate on a CEO Advisory on mass litigation. Even a company with a strong brand, clear strategy, and respected leadership team may suffer significant reputational harm if it mishandles mass litigation.
Volume 35 Issue 6 (2007) | Helio Fred Garcia and Laurel Hart collaborate on a CEO Advisory on then-budding social media. Executive must be ready for the risks — not just the opportunities — of consumer-generated content.
Summer 2007 | “A challenge facing nearly every organization in a crisis is the circulation of rumors that, unaddressed, can cause significant reputational harm — sometimes even more harm than the crisis. Rumors are particularly challenging because it is hard to figure out where a rumor started, how it is building momentum and where it might end.”
3 December 2006 | “The first two rules of crisis management are: 1) Think clearly; and 2) Take the pain. Think clearly means define the problem to be solved, and understand the consequences of doing nothing, doing something and doing something more.”
Volume 34 Issue 1 (2006) | “Effective crisis response is a competitive advantage; ineffective crisis response causes a competitive disadvantage, and can even put an enterprise’s existence in jeopardy.”
March 2003 | “It would be easy to see the problems in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, in Istanbul, in Bali, in Israel, in Palestine, in Kenya and Tanzania, as caused by religion; to see religion as the root cause of terrorism, organized violence, and aggression here and abroad. Two years ago, I was asked to get involved with Religions for Peace, an organization that has opened my eyes to an alternative view of the healing power of religion[.]”
Volume 2 Issue 8 (2001) | “Much crisis communication is pattern recognition. One of the key tasks of a crisis manager – wherever he or she may reside within an organization’s operation or among its advisors – is to anticipate what will happen next and to redirect resources so that what happens next is more likely positive.”
Volume 2 Issue 1 (2001) | “Every company and organization, at some time or other, faces a crisis that includes rumors. How one deals with rumors, especially in the critical early phases of a crisis, can determine the outcome of the crisis.”
Inward Springs: “Why We Need Less Pluribus and More Unum” (Summer 2002)
Corporate Lawyer: “Killing a Rumor” (December 2000)
The Law Marketing Portal: “Crisis Communications: A Mathematical Formula for Killing Rumors” (7 August 2000)
Public Relations Strategist: “Old-School PR: Public Relations’ Roots in the Classical World (Summer 1998)
PRSA New York: “Acing the Orals” (March 1992)
PRSA New York: “Stalking the APR: A Game Plan” (February 1992)
Public Relations Quarterly: “On War and Strategy: Public Relations Lessons from the Gulf” (Summer 1991)
Public Relations Journal: Review of The Executive’s Guide to Handling a Press Interview, by Dick Martin (August 1991)
Public Relations Journal: Review of The Journalist and the Murderer (July 1990)
Public Relations Journal: “Making the Switch from Investment Banking to IR” (August 1989)
Issues Management Newsletter: “Reaching the Elites by Reaching the Masses” (Fall 1989)