Franz Paasche | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
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Franz Paasche

SVP, Corporate Affairs & Communications
PayPal
US

 

 

Franz Paasche joined PayPal in 2015 as the payments giant prepared for its split from parent company eBay and the two companies became independent, publicly-traded companies. His work on this transition resulted in a promotion to senior VP in 2016, when he told Ethical Corporation: “We find ourselves at a defining moment in time, when companies must think and act more coherently and consistently about how their values play out in the world… At PayPal that means that we’re focused on our ability to make a difference in the lives of those who are underserved by the financial system – relentlessly working together to reimagine money and democratize the financial system to improve the financial health of our customers.”

Under his tenure, PayPal’s corporate affairs function has undergone a significant transformation, with the creation of a cross-functional team across communications, government relations and social innovation. This change has been accompanied by some churn, with notable departures and an agency consolidation with Edelman.

Before Paasche joined PayPal in 2015, he spent almost four years at McKinsey & Company, where he was responsible for external relations, public affairs, strategic communications and reputation risk, and oversaw issues management in North America. Prior to that, he was a senior partner at FleishmanHillard and was managing director at Clark & Weinstock, and is one of the few comms industry leaders to hold a law degree.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
I believe that the work we’re doing to express and demonstrate PayPal’s purpose and values contributes to the overall reputation and success of the company. Our mission is to democratize financial services and improve the financial health of the underserved. It’s an extension of our core belief that profit and purpose can be achieved in unity, and we’ve had the opportunity to work closely with partners across the business to make a difference for our customers and their communities. A recent example was our initiative to launch a relief program for furloughed US federal workers during the government shutdown that provided interest-free cash advances.

What do you love about this industry?
I’m fortunate to be working in an era where our industry is filled with diverse professionals with enormous talent. I love building and working with great teams on mission-driven initiatives. I couldn’t be prouder of our corporate affairs team at PayPal and it’s a privilege to be working with this talented group of colleagues.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
We’ve entered a new period where the work we do as communicators to protect, maintain and grow reputation is mission critical. Whether through proactive communications, education, risk management or thought leadership, we have a significant opportunity to help advance the success of the business. We are in a fortunate position to provide strategic counsel that contributes to fulfilling the company's mission, vision, and values in order to drive real change.

How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
I’m a big reader and a bit of a news junkie. I also enjoy gardening and being in nature, and spending as much time as I can with family and friends.