In 2003, FDC-Western Union faced a major boycott threat and challenge to the proposed acquisition of Concorde, a financial services company who owned the STAR ATM network. Having no community outreach initiative or programs, the Company was, in the terms of Hispanic advocates, “low hanging fruit.”
A protest by Hispanic evangelicals and the original Latino Coalition of Washington DC was scheduled to take place on the steps of the U.S. Dept. of Justice — DOJ having the final say in the proposed acquisition.
Mr. Niehaus was brought in by the First Data Corporation CEO Charles T. Fote to mediate and diffuse the situation.
A negotiation was initiated with Hispanic leaders and the protests were suspended. The key was to establish a collaborative partnership between the Hispanic Community and FDC WU. What resulted was the establishment of an Empowerment Fund. Initiatives were implemented jointly over a 7 year period. These initiatives have been shrouded in an aura of enlightened self interest for both the Community and the Company.
A bond of trust and collaboration was established — a face was put on the Company.
The strategic value of this collaboration has achieved 5 things:
- Support and Opportunity for the Company and Community
- Corporate Brand Enhancement
- Protection against paid activists attacking the Company
- Deep rooted legitimate relationships with multinational Community Leaders
- An alignment of corporate resources, interfacing with the Hispanic community to achieve corporate objectives