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Blackwater changing its name, logo

Feb. 15, 2009 at 5:33 PM

MOYOCK, N.C., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The North Carolina security contractor Blackwater Worldwide has changed its name to Xe, a company memo says.

Company President Gary Jackson said in a memo that the company has been reorganizing for several months to "create unique brand identities for its products and services," The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Sunday.

As part of its rebranding, the company is jettisoning the name Blackwater and its red-and-black bear-claw logo.

The newspaper noted that Blackwater was involved in several controversies over its security work in Iraq on behalf of the U.S. government. There were high-profile investigations into alleged gun smuggling and the shooting of civilians in Baghdad.

Robert Passikoff, president of the New York marketing research firm Brand Keys Inc., said it is not uncommon for companies to rebrand themselves to distance their companies from bad publicity.

"There's an old saying about brands: 'When you can't change the product, you change the packaging,'" he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Company spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said Blackwater's past was only one of several factors involved in the decision.

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