Frank X. Shaw | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
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Frank X. Shaw

Corporate Vice President, Communications
Microsoft
US

@fxshaw

 

When Frank Shaw joined Microsoft in 2009 as its head of communications, it was perhaps one of the most seamless agency to in-house transitions the industry has witnessed. One of the reasons for that, of course, was Shaw’s former role as president of the Microsoft account at WE Communications where he spent most of the first two decades of his career. In essence, this meant Shaw had spent nearly his entire career learning every facet of Microsoft’s business.

This knowledge has been integral in his role as head of global communications, seeing the tech giant through major changes — not only in its management but also in its overall business strategy. Which probably helps to explain why Shaw is only too happy to take Microsoft critics to task on Twitter. 

Shaw has been the company’s communications lead through industry-altering acquisitions, ambitious and disastrous product launches, stunning leadership changes (and the tumult that followed). Most recently he’s been making the case that its Teams app is bigger than Slack and growing faster, while also taking on the company’s controversies like its work with the US Border Patrol.

Amid considerable transformation, Shaw’s institutional PR insight remains unparalleled and has yielded considerable benefit to the company —and stands as a notable example of reputational stewardship for the industry-at-large.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
At E3 this year we were able to see a direct link between our fan and influencer event and sign-ups for Game Pass.

What do you love about this industry?
The fascinating challenges we have.

What most frustrates you about this industry?
Too much navel-gazing.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
They are both the same -- how do we respond to the trust deficit in the media?

How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
Bake bread or go running.

Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
The scene in "Chicago" where the lawyer demonstrates the value of consistent messaging.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Retired from the US Marines.