Historically, Procter & Gamble’s products—and the award-winning marketing and ad campaigns that supported them—have been more prominent than the company’s corporate brand.
But in recent years, the company’s external relations function has grown in stature, playing a more central role in marketing—as CMO Marc Pritchard heralded a shift in emphasis away from selling products to building relationships—and working to ensure that a stronger corporate profile enhanced the value of the brands, most recently through its corporate “Thank You, Mom” campaign supporting the company’s Olympic sponsorship.
Director of corporate communications Paul Fox has played a strong leadership role in that process, establishing himself as a leader inside P&G and in the wider public relations world, and earning him one of our 2013 SABRE Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement.
A former national and regional journalist, Fox entered the world of local government public relations during the 1980s, then moving into the airline business as head of public relations and public affairs before shifting to the agency side of the business and holding leadership positions in three European PR firms.
He joined The Gillette Company in 2000 and was director of global external relations for the company prior to its acquisition by Procter & Gamble in 2005.
In his current role, he oversees external communications for P&G’s global operations and leads the company’s corporate communications work, which has helped it sustain impressive positions on various reputation metrics: P&G ranks among the top 10 on the annual Reputation Quotient poll by Harris Interactive, and among the top 10 on Fortune’s list of The World’s Most Admired Companies.
More specifically, over the past 12 months, Fox led the company’s response after Pershing Square disclosed its “largest initial investment ever” in P&G, the precursor to an aggressive behind-the-scenes media campaign against the company and CEO Robert McDonald.
“Paul quickly distinguished himself as an impressive advocate,” says Joele Frank, whose New York financial communications consultancy worked with P&G on the ensuing crisis. “He worked tirelessly to ensure strategic messages were resonating with the right audiences.” She hails “his ability to leverage his deep media relationships to influence and reorient media coverage of P&G.
“He is smart, persuasive, and very well connected. Above all else, Paul has shown his ability to manage through a myriad of complicated situations, demonstrating outstanding instincts and contributing creative and out-of-the-box ideas that set him apart from his peers.”
An expert in crisis and issue management, he is a guest lecturer at the University of Bath in the UK and Princeton. External positions have included serving on the board of the Boston Better Business Bureau, the National Association of Manufacturers’ public affairs steering committee, chairman emeritus of the Washington-based Coalition Against Counterfeiting & Piracy, and chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers Working Group on Counterfeiting.