Dave Samson | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
Dave-Samson

Dave Samson 

General Manager of Public Affairs
Chevron
@dvdsamson

Dave Samson has reached the point in his career where he’s been selected to serve as chairman of the board of trustees for the Arthur W. Page Society and he’s received the Plank Center Award for mentorship. It’s been quite a journey from Levi Strauss & Co, where Samson had some early in-house experience after working at Denver-based public relations firm MGA Communications, to Chevron, where he currently serves as general manager of public affairs. Levi, at the time, was known as a leader in corporate responsibility; Chevron, like all oil companies, faces intense scrutiny for its role in a wide range of environmental issues, and for most of Samson’s tenure has been embroiled in controversy over the dumping of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian rain forest.

Samson has been responsible for handling the company’s communication around that issue and many others. His team is responsible for all aspects of corporate communications, including media relations, employee communications, executive communications and issues management, as well as corporate branding and advertising. It also manages the company’s global website, Chevron.com.

Samson joined Chevron from Oracle Corporation where he was vice president of international public relations and executive communications. Prior to joining Oracle, he was a partner at Ketchum, where he oversaw the agency’s San Francisco operations; director of international communications at IBM; vice president of global communications at Levi Strauss & Co.; and senior manager of investor and corporate relations for Manville Corporation.

Please share a notable career highlight. 
Being selected to serve as chairman of the board of trustees for the Arthur W. Page Society and receiving the Plank Center Award for mentorship.

What is the most rewarding/challenging aspect about a career in communications/marketing?
The breadth of issues I face on a daily basis and the dynamic and constant change taking place in  our profession. Never dull.

What skills/experience will the CCO of the future need that may not be required today?
Ability to use data/analytics to move stakeholders to taking action favorable to their respective enterprises and to enable tangible business outcomes.

What skill/experience is required of today's CCO that might not be as relevant in the future?
I can think of none.  They need to acquire news skills that augment and build on the skills that have historically been important to our business.

Who or what inspires you to be your best? 
My family first and my colleagues next.

What is on your must-read/view/listen to list? 
More TED talks on a range of interesting issues.

Most interesting place you've traveled to?
Lagos, Nigeria.