Sally Susman | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations

Sally Susman

Executive vice president, corporate affairs
Pfizer

Sally Susman is a staunch advocate for the view that only earned media can deliver the authenticity and credibility that companies need to build reputation. “If we pay, it’s immediately tainted,” she said, addressing the loss of public trust in big pharmaceutical companies. So in her role as Pfizer’s senior communicator, Susman has invested in efforts such as the “Maintain” program, which offered free prescriptions to patients laid off during the economic crisis, or the company’s award-winning push into social media—which many pharma companies continue to regard with suspicion. As executive vice president, policy, external affairs and communications for the world’s largest biopharmaceutical company, Susman is a member of Pfizer’s executive leadership team, chairs Pfizer’s Political Action Committee and is vice chair of The Pfizer Foundation. She directs Pfizer’s global communications, its interactions with external and internal audiences, its public affairs activities, and its corporate responsibility group. Before joining Pfizer in 2007, Susman was executive vice president of global communications at The Estée Lauder Companies. She also held several senior communications and government relations posts at American Express Company and earlier spent eight years in government service focused on international trade issues.