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

General Manager Public Affairs
Chevron
US

 

 

Working in the issues-rich environment of the extractive industry, Dave Samson has taken a feisty approach to protecting Chevron’s reputation, particularly around the most high-profile threats to the company’s image, from charges related to the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian rain forest, to spearheading the company’s response to climate change.

Samson leads a 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’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. He 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; and director of international communications at IBM. He was inducted into the Page Society’s Hall of Fame last year.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR’s direct impact on business performance?
I see it daily, happening in places around the world and across all sectors of our economy.

What do you love about this industry?
It changes daily. No day is boring. And there is real value in what we do.

What most frustrates you about this industry?
People who complain that they don't feel valued and those who constantly worry about their colleagues in marketing.

What are the communications industry’s biggest challenges and opportunities?
The biggest opportunity is to use data to better inform our communications and stakeholder engagement actions, and better predict stakeholder behaviors. The biggest challenge is the growing use of AI to manipulate content and propagate misinformation.

How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
I try to spend quality time with my lovely wife and 13-year-old daughter.

Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
“Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou and the podcast The Dropout. Both are on the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos downfall.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
A rancher who has a few horses and writes mystery novels in a beautiful office above the barn.