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Christof Ehrhart took over as head of corporate communications at Deutsche Post DHL in 2009 with a mandate to rebuild employee morale and restore public trust following the departure of former chief executive Klaus Zumwinkel amid tax evasion charges. Working closely with new CEO Frank Appel, Ehrhart has had an immediate impact, completely restructuring the company’s global communications department and restoring the company’s reputation, focusing on a dialogue-based approach to communications with a strong commitment to business metrics. He has also revitalized the company’s social responsibility reporting, emphasizing a dual focus on “respect and results.” Perhaps most notable, Ehrhart introduced a major thought leadership initiative: a Delphi study entitled “Delivering Tomorrow” that has served as the basis for a series of stakeholder dialogues around the world and the company’s very active blog. Before joining DHL, Ehrhart was head of corporate communications at EADS, and he has worked in senior communications roles at a number of German and overseas multinationals, including Bertelsmann and later AOL Bertelsmann, JT International Germany, and Schering AG.
What do you consider your career highlight?
Successfully fighting a communications battle against an unsolicited take over offer (which did not represent the fair value of the company I was working for)
What is the best advice you ever received?
When asking for career advice, my father told me: do what you really like to do rather than dreaming about a specfic career – and you will excel.
What is your favorite PR campaign?
The Ecomagination campaign of GE.
What do you enjoy most about working in PR?
The combination of reacting on fast moving actual developments and the need of for long-term strategic thinking to build repuation.
What was your biggest career break?
Still to come...
Who was your mentor and why?
My doctorate supervisor who taught me what he called "intellectual integrity".
Who inspires you?
My family and my students at university.
What are your favorite media, offline and online?
FT, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, New York Review of Books, CNBC, Yahoo News Digest, Vice, Spiegel Online
What is your favorite gadget?
My Bose HiFi earphones.
In one sentence, sell a career in communications to a new graduate.
Join Corporate Comms and you can use all of your skills and senses: head, heart and guts...
What is your favorite city for business travel?
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