PR Power List 2009

During this challenging time, PRWeek's senior editors weigh the different criteria to help determine this year's ranking of 25 industry leaders.

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1. Harris Diamond, CEO, Weber Shandwick Worldwide and IPG's Constituency Management Group


['08 rank - #4]


In 2009, the PR industry is down to business. No individual represents the shifting meaning of the power in PR better than Harris Diamond, particularly in this tough economy. He arguably holds the fate of more PR pros and brands in his hands than anyone still directly working in the business. There are 3,500 PR pros working for CMG agencies, which include GolinHarris, MWW Group, and DeVries.

Diamond also has dominion over a broader range of services within IPG, including sports marketing agency Octagon and events firm Jack Morton. CMG revenues totaled $1.1 billion in 2008. As integration is now a stark reality, his leadership across this discrete, but broader marketing realm becomes vital for securing a range of key business.

In thought leadership, Diamond has taken as his stump speech dual themes of reputation and leadership. Though less trendy than the focus on innovation that at least in part propelled Richard Edelman to the top spot in the past two years, his perspectives on these two issues is in step with client pain points at a time of huge business uncertainty.

Part of the power proposition for Diamond is also in the continued strengths of WS, the core brand of his empire building, and in his blunt and business-focused style, which gives no quarter to detractors and naysayers. WS' consistency of leadership, including president Andy Polansky and chairman Jack Leslie, has been a critical USP for the firm, which has achieved blue-chip status in the PR world. This brand value has been driven from the top.

Defining Qualities
Financial stewardship
Thought leadership
Innovation
Affiliations
Client/company profile

2. Richard Edelman, worldwide president and CEO, Edelman

['08 rank - #1]

Innovation in PR has become almost synonymous with Edelman. And most of that reputation can be attributed to the vision and leadership of the firm's CEO, Richard Edelman. In the face of a constantly changing media and business landscape, he has remained a leading voice for how the industry can evolve and be successful in the new age of PR. Despite the tough economy, Edelman's firm still managed to increase 2008 global revenue 12% and US revenue by 9%. As the industry endures a challenging year, there's no doubt that Edelman – both the man and the agency – will provide a good example of how to properly weather the storm.

Defining Qualities
Financial stewardship
Thought leadership
External visibility
Innovation
Media influence
Client/company profile

*3. Charlotte Otto, chief global external relations officer, Procter & Gamble


['08 rank - #3]

Leading global communications for one of the world's largest consumer packaged goods companies has been the reason for Charlotte Otto's power in years past. And during a time when the industry and company face economic challenges, she has even more opportunity to be influential. With new CEO Robert McDonald taking the reins this month, there will undoubtedly be changes in how P&G spends its marketing dollars. Reporting directly to McDonald, Otto has the chance to significantly impact PR's role in P&G's marketing mix during this crucial time. A member of the Arthur Page Society, she is also active in the Cincinnati business community, serving on the board of The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.

Defining Qualities

Thought leadership
Affiliations
Client/company profile
Public service

*On June 24, Otto announced her retirement from P&G, effective February 2010. As of July 1, she stepped into a special assignment role, assisting former CEO A.G. Lafley in his position on the board.

4. Leslie Dach, EVP, corporate affairs and government relations, Wal-Mart

['08 rank - #6]

Responsible for reputation management, public affairs, corporate communications, the Wal-Mart Foundation, government relations, and sustainability for the world's largest retailer, Leslie Dach has a platform that is rivaled by few other corporate communicators. All eyes are on Wal-Mart for nearly everything it does, especially now in the sustainability area, meaning Dach's actions have the power to influence how other companies handle the same issue. And during a recession where inspiring consumer spending is especially important, there is no more important time to be controlling Wal-Mart's message. Maintaining consumer loyalty will be especially crucial to its future success, a task Dach is well suited to tackle. With its recent agency review, Dach has also wielded a lot of financial influence over firms in a climate where winning new business is essential. In addition to his work at Wal-Mart, Dach also serves on the board of the World Resources Institute.

Defining Qualities
Media influence
Political influence
Client/company profile

5. Jon Iwata, VP, marketing and communications, IBM

['08 rank - #2]

Now fully into his new role, Jon Iwata is ready to make some changes in the way the company handles marketing. Believing that digital strategy should be a collaboration between all aspects of the business, he is developing a plan that not only involves marketing and communications, but also other departments such as legal, HR, and the CFO's office. That move could provide an example for other companies. A member of the Arthur Page Society and the Seminar, Iwata's impact on IBM's marketing function – and the PR profession – will only further increase with time.

Defining Qualities
Thought leadership
Innovation
Affiliations
Client/company profile

6. Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, President Barack Obama

['08 rank - #22]

“I'm just the messenger.” No White House press secretary would ever utter this phrase, but the statement would be truly preposterous for Robert Gibbs. Having previously served as communications director for the man who would become the first African-American president, Gibbs long ago established himself as a messaging strategist par excellence. Of Gibbs, then-Senator Barack Obama was once quoted as saying in a Wall Street Journal story, “Robert is the guy I want in the foxhole with me during incoming fire.” With beacons of the US economy filing for bankruptcy; unrest in areas the world over; and a boss who likes to take his wife on an occasional date, Gibbs would be wise to get a comfortable chair for that trench. But while scrutiny mounts, Obama's message of hope and change – which Gibbs played a key role in crafting – still rings loud and true with a large portion of US and global citizens. And with a president whose enthusiasm and aplomb are unrivaled when it comes to communicating through various channels, the man who conveys that message merits global attention.

Defining Qualities
External visibility
Media influence
Political influence
Client/company profile

7. Sally Susman, SVP and chief communications officer, Pfizer

['08 rank - #8]

Overseeing communications for the world's largest drugmaker, Sally Susman reports directly to chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler as part of the executive team. This year, much of her focus is on the company's acquisition and integration of Wyeth. In addition, the pharma industry – among others – faces increased scrutiny from Washington. Kindler has indicated he wants to be a part of the healthcare reform movement emanating from the nation's capital. It will be up to Susman to help shape that conversation. This year Pfizer is hosting the annual PR and Communications Summit for the pharma industry. Susman will be serving as the keynote, which is an indication, perhaps, of her taking on more of a thought-leadership role in the PR industry.

Defining Qualities
Political influence
Client/company profile

8. Ray Day, VP, communications, Ford Motor Company

['08 rank - not ranked]

In an industry ravaged by the recession, Ford stands out as the only Big Three US automaker to forego federal aid. With President Obama's federal fuel economy mandate top of mind, Ford's V-6 EcoBoost engine, which will improve fuel economy by 20%, should be in 90% of its models by 2013. These are two huge points around which Ray Day is basing a strong credibility message. Ford also continues to bolster its Web presence – as evidenced by TheFordStory.com and Twitter interviews with CEO Alan Mulally. It also faces numerous challenges stemming from not using TARP money. Considering these factors, Day has unprecedented opportunity to shape the blue oval's message.

Defining Qualities

Thought leadership
Innovation
Client/company profile

9. Ken Cohen, VP, public affairs, ExxonMobil

['08 rank - #5]

Even amidst the financial meltdown of 2008 and the ongoing recession, energy is still a huge concern for many Americans and a topic that is still the focus of intense public and media scrutiny. As the world's largest publicly traded energy company, ExxonMobil is constantly in the middle of that ongoing conversation, and it's Cohen's job to ensure that the company's position on everything from gas prices to global warming is properly communicated. With the Obama administration devoting significant resources to finding alternative energy sources, companies such as ExxonMobil will only be further thrust into the spotlight. Cohen's experience and status within the company will be a tremendous asset as it moves forward to address new challenges. He also serves as the chairman of the ExxonMobil Foundation.

Defining Qualities
Media influence
Political influence
Client/company profile

10. Mark Penn, CEO, Burson-Marsteller

['08 rank - #10]

Last year wasn't easy for Mark Penn. His candidate lost the presidential primary, and his actions were publicly cited for the loss of his firm's client, Colombia. Yet Penn remains resilient. He is active on client work, including
pitching key accounts, and he doesn't shy away from defending the industry. When MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow took Penn and his firm to task for its client roster, including AIG, Penn defended the importance of its services, even to embattled companies, in an internal memo. And despite Hillary Clinton's defeat, there's no doubt that Penn will remain politically influential in the future.

Defining Qualities
External visibility
Media influence
Political influence
Client/company profile



11. Bill Margaritis, SVP, global comms and IR, FedEx

['08 rank - #9]

Bill Margaritis holds a lead role in ensuring that FedEx's marketing efforts further bolster the brand. Among PR's most enthusiastic champions, he has the ear of president and CEO Fred Smith, further bolstering the impact of his strategies. Be it social media efforts or recognizing the key role agency partners play, he is highly visible in underscoring how PR can impact organizations from the inside out. Serving on the board of the Arthur Page Society and the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, Margaritis remains one of the industry's finest examples.

Defining Qualities
Thought leadership
Affiliations
Client/company profile
Public service

12. Dave Senay, CEO, Fleishman-Hillard

['08 rank - #7]

Leading one of the world's largest PR agencies would probably be enough to warrant Dave Senay's spot on this list. Yet he has earned a place by truly showcasing leadership and understanding of the changing PR profession. A proponent of infusing digital capabilities throughout the firm, Senay has taken an active role in that process, blogging on important issues for Fleishman's internal audience. He has also been vocal about how PR should be the marketing discipline taking the lead during economic difficulties to deliver true business results for clients – and how PR can be measured to prove that impact. With his prior experience in EMEA, he has a firm grasp on the global nature of the business and seizes appropriate opportunities to impart this knowledge throughout the firm. A member of the Arthur Page Society and the Seminar, he is taking the steps to truly move out of the shadow of chairman John Graham and establish his place within the firm and industry].

Defining Qualities
Thought leadership
Innovation
Affiliations
Client/company profile

13. Gary Sheffer, executive director, comms and public affairs, GE

['08 rank - not ranked]

Gary Sheffer oversees all communications for GE, including internal and external relations and public affairs. This year is shaping up as a decisive one for the diversified company. This spring GE unveiled “healthymagination,” its GE Healthcare global business and marketing initiative, and hopes to help shape the healthcare debate. Sheffer takes an active role in the industry. He is on Columbia University's advisory board for the Master of Science in Strategic Communications, as well as the board at the Arthur Page Society.

Defining Qualities
Innovation
Affiliations
Client/company profile

14. Rachel Whetstone, VP, public policy and comms, Google

['08 rank - not ranked]

Rachel Whetstone joined Google in 2005, but it wasn't until last year that she made her way to the top slot of the company's communications function, following the departure of Elliot Schrage to Facebook. As the leader for Google's global teams on communications and public policy, she stands to play a significant role in the latter, which is becoming an increasingly important priority for the tech company. Although notoriously tight-lipped with the press, Google is finding its way into not just the tech trade headlines, but increasingly those circulating Washington. Whetstone is well-equipped to help lead that conversation.

Defining Qualities
Media influence
Political influence
Client/company profile

15. Jack Daly, SVP of corporate relations, McDonald's

['08 rank - #16]

McDonald's continues to beat the recession with strong worldwide revenue growth. This performance has paved the way for expanded offerings, such as its line of McCafé coffee products. In turn, Jack Daly has played a huge role in the iconic company's largest marketing effort in three decades. And in a testament to creative thinking, McDonald's eschewed its traditional product launches in this case. From offering product samples at February's Fashion Week to a McCafeYourDay Twitter feed, Daly has shown that even after 17 years with the company, the spirit of innovation is still there.

Defining Qualities
Innovation
Professional tree (mentoring)
Client/company profile



16. Ray Kotcher, CEO, Ketchum

['08 rank - not ranked]

As CEO of Ketchum since 2000, Ray Kotcher has helped to instill a spirit of creativity and commitment that has garnered the firm plenty of buzz over the past year. In fact, Kotcher helped lead the development of three of the agency's key offerings: Ketchum Digital, Women 25to54, and Ketchum Influencer Relationship Management. Given Ketchum's recent merger with Pleon, he will now have control of a major global player in PR. Kotcher's influence also extends beyond the agency. As a second-term chairman of the Council of PR Firms, he has the opportunity to effectively communicate the value that PR agencies can bring to their clients. Defining Qualities Innovation Affiliations Professional tree (mentoring) Client/company profile Public service

17. Ray Jordan, VP of public affairs and corporate comms, Johnson & Johnson

['08 rank - not ranked]

From a business perspective, Johnson & Johnson continues to solidify its powerful position – and Ray Jordan plays a vital role on many levels. However, it is on the social media front where J&J continues to display an eagerness to make strides in an industry that still struggles to do so. The Jordan-led communications team has played a role in the company's YouTube channel and its multiple Facebook pages, which are geared to special audiences, consumer products, and conditions. As the digital evolution continues and healthcare remains a prominent issue on President Obama's agenda, Jordan's efforts will surely take on an increasing relevance.

Defining Qualities
Thought leadership
Innovation
Client/company profile

18. Simon Sproule, VP, corporate comms, Microsoft

['08 rank - not ranked]

Simon Sproule joined Microsoft as its top communicator earlier this year. Key issues include the release of a new version of Windows, the search tool, Bing, and updates and new synergies between many of its marquee consumer products, such as Xbox and the Zune. With all of these changes, Sproule has a unique opportunity to help the tech giant craft a new story, one with the potential to revamp Microsoft's image as an innovator. In addition, Sproule ultimately holds the fate of the company's numerous agencies under him, adding to his power.

Defining Qualities
Innovation
Media influence
Client/company profile

19. Julie Hamp, SVP of corporate communications, PepsiCo


['08 rank - not ranked]

Last year, Julie Hamp made PRWeek's Editors' Choice as a person to watch when she replaced the company's seven-year veteran Tod MacKenzie in the top communicator post. With the company undergoing a major restructuring at the time and facing steep competition not only from Coca-Cola, but a number of new players all trying to adapt to Americans' changing beverage preferences, Hamp had a chance to sink or swim – and swim she did. Already this year, the company has shown its prowess in the space in which everyone in communications wants to be known: digital. PepsiCo took a lead role at the recent Internet Week, while it dominated Twitter during South by Southwest. It's also applying its digital know-how to its brands, such as with the Trop50 launch. Adding key hire Bonin Bough late last year to lead its digital strategy across brands was clearly part of this new move to align the company with social media. Reporting directly to the CEO, Hamp wields significant influence for the direction of the corporate and brand communications, as well as its PR agencies with its recent review. Hamp is also beginning to take a more visible role in the PR industry – speaking at last year's PRSA conference

Defining Qualities
Thought leadership
Innovation
Client/company profile

20. Joele Frank, managing partner, Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher


['08 rank - #23]

Though M&A activity has slowed down considerably, Joele Frank still retains influence within the industry. She and her firm have retained status as a go-to resource for financial communications and consult, providing recent support to Lionsgate as it faced a threatened proxy fight from shareholder Carl Icahn, as well as Target when it faced a proxy fight led by Pershing Square Capital Management's Bill Ackman. Frank approaches her work with a tenacity and determination that has earned her respect, even among her competitors in the financial communications industry. With a reputation for being able to face the toughest challenges and no sign of retiring anytime soon, Frank will continue to be an influential force in the industry for years to come.

Defining Qualities
Financial stewardship
External visibility
Client/company profile

21. Maril MacDonald, CEO, Gagen MacDonald

['08 rank - #21]

Maril MacDonald's expertise in strategic employee communications and workplace performance enhancement is highly valuable in the current economic climate, contributing to her power. Her seeming desire to elevate communications to a business, rather than a marketing discipline is something that can only help to raise the profile of the industry. A visible figure within the Chicago community, MacDonald's position as president of the Arthur Page Society also gives her a prominent platform to speak about how the PR industry can innovate its offerings and become a valued business partner. Having worked with such clients as McDonald's and Johnson & Johnson, MacDonald has the ear of some of the largest companies in the world. She also serves as a trustee for the Institute for Public Relations

Defining Qualities
Thought leadership
Affiliations
Client/company profile

22. Steve Lipin, senior partner, Brunswick Group

['08 rank - not ranked]

Brunswick Group continues to top Mergermarket's list as the top handler of M&A deals, in terms of both volume and value, despite a drying up of the sector. In the first quarter of 2009, it reportedly handled deals valued at about $1.37 billion. Steve Lipin, who is based in New York, is repeatedly cited as the stateside powerhouse of the UK-founded global firm. He oversees the US practice, which has been working to grow in recent years. That includes a significant buildup in its Washington office since the start of the year, as well as splashy hires, such as Jim Wilkinson, the chief of staff for former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Lipin also brings in significant client work and directly oversees high-profile relationships. Last year, he handled the agency's work with InBev as it successfully acquired Anheuser-Busch. As those in financial services are now counseling clients to stop hiding out, perhaps this will be the year, Lipin, too, steps out to increase his profile.

Defining Qualities
Financial stewardship
Media influence
Client/company profile

23. Joseph Evangelisti, managing director, corporate comms, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

['08 rank - not ranked]

All eyes are on the banking sector and everyone is listening to the top communicator at one of its stalwarts. JPMorgan Chase's Joseph Evangelisti understands the business of his business and he brings that keen comprehension to all company messaging. Currently, efforts to underscore the bank's viability are keeping him busy. In addition to leading all external outreach, Evangelisti is a member of the company's Brand Marketing Council. As an advisory board member at Columbia University's Master of Science in Strategic Communications, he imparts his knowledge on tomorrow's PR leaders.

Defining Qualities
Professional tree (mentoring)
Media influence
Client/company profile

24. Margery Kraus, CEO, APCO Worldwide

['08 rank - not ranked]

Margery Kraus founded APCO 25 years ago and it continues to succeed. Its 2008 global revenues grew more than 15% despite the recession. Kraus remains active, traveling worldwide to counsel clients and overseeing 500-plus practitioners in 29 offices. In December she will become chairman of The Council of PR Firms, where she is also a board member. She's a trustee at the Institute for Public Relations and the Arthur Page Society. In the past, Kraus was named PR Woman of the Year by the Washington Women in PR, but clearly her influence extends beyond the Beltway.

Defining Qualities
Thought leadership
Affiliations
Media influence

25. Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO, president, and founder, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide

['08 rank - not ranked]

The firm Melissa Waggener Zorkin cofounded 25 years ago as a two-person shop now has 700-plus global staffers and generates in excess of $120 million in revenue. Once known as a tech specialist, it has made serious inroads in other sectors, such as healthcare and consumer PR. Spearheading this rise is a woman who earns high marks for vision and leadership. Zorkin, a champion of PR innovation who often speaks and writes about the topic, counsels some of the corporate world's biggest names, including Microsoft, for which WE serves as corporate AOR. Zorkin also serves on the board of directors at MercyCorps and on the board of ambassadors for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Defining Qualities
Financial stewardship
Thought leadership
Innovation
Client/company profile
Public service

Emerging Power Players:

John Bell, MD of 360 Digital Influence, Ogilvy PR. A pioneer in the digital space, Bell continues to be a thought leader. His leadership of WOMMA also shows his commitment to setting ethical standards.

David Jackson, director of defense media activity, US Dept. of Defense. Overseeing 2,000 employees, Jackson has a unique role in shaping part of the DoD's message as the US fights two wars.

Jen Prosek, partner, CJP Communications. Combining an MBA education and instinct, Prosek has built this rising agency's profile and reputation over the past few years.

Jim Weiss, CEO, WeissComm Group. Weiss has led his firm to significant double-digit growth the past two years, making it a formidable competitor in the important healthcare communications space.

Supporting Power Players:

Ninan Chacko, CEO, PR Newswire. With a background in technology and global business, Chacko has distinct plans for how the newswire can utilize both to remain relevant in these changing times.

Bob Feldman, principal, PulsePoint Group. Working with some of the world's largest companies, Feldman provides valued counsel to entities looking to restructure their corporate communications function.

Robert French, professor, Auburn University. One of the leading proponents of incorporating social media into PR education curricula, French has increased his influence through the very tools he's teaching his students to use.

Bill Heyman, CEO, Heyman Associates. In an environment where jobs are scarce, Heyman's expertise in placing high-level executives becomes even more important.

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