Christof Ehrhart | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
Christof-Ehrhart

Christof Ehrhart

Executive Vice President Corporate Communications & Responsibility
Deutsche Post DHL Group
Germany, Europe

@EhrhartChristof

 

Christof Ehrhart took over as head of corporate communications at Deutsche Post DHL in 2009. Since then he has established an integrated strategic approach for the group, combining reputation building and stakeholder engagement.

Reporting directly to CEO Frank Appel, Ehrhart has built a global communications department with a strong focus on business metrics. He has extended Deutsche Post’s social responsibility programs and added a specific initiative to deal with the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. He also introduced the DHL Global Connectedness Index, which measures the degree of globalisation of the world economy.

Before joining DHL, Ehrhart was head of corporate communications at European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), the parent company of Airbus. He has also worked in senior communications roles at a German and overseas multinationals including Bertelsmann and later AOL Bertelsmann, JT International Germany, and Schering AG.

Ehrhart is a member of the World Economic Forum´s Global Future Council on the Humanitarian System. He lectures on corporate communications at leading universities across Germany and writes a blog on trends in corporate communications and sustainability management: www.futureproofingpr.com.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
In 2017 we introduced a zero emission target for 2050, which was developed and communicated by my team. This is not only good for the planet but has also been a great customer acquisition tool for our sales teams and we are making good progress.

What do you love about this industry?
Being constantly exposed to the big trends (for good or bad) that shape our world. Being in PR means turning a big wheel (or at least considering it).

What most frustrates you about this industry?
At times its lack of self-confidence and regularly its persistent adolescence in terms of quality, ethics and standards.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
Still digitalization, which poses a significant challenge and great opportunity at the same time. Corporate communications as a discipline has to find the right balance between total disruption and mere complementation.

How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
By reading, doing all kinds of sports, preferably outdoors, and above all by spending time with my family.

Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
Book: 1984, by George Orwell (1949); movie: The King´s Speech, by Tom Hooper (2010)

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Researching the societal contribution of professional communication in the age of VUCA and teach the next generation of communicators and leaders. I have started already and will continue after the sunset of my corporate life.