Reputation Officer Can Be A Solid Operational Leader

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Chrysler’s hiring of former Toyota exec Jim Press to be its new President and Vice Chairman is a move PR professionals everywhere can cheer. Press made his mark at Toyota North America as its chief public relations officer before taking on operational responsibilities as Toyota’s highest ranking gaijin, I mean, non-Japanese exec.

Why is it surprising that a very capable and well-respected PR pro can ascend to lead a major corporation’s operations? After all, reputation is undeniably any company’s greatest asset, so shouldn’t its Chief Reputational Officer be at least as likely a CEO-in-waiting as its Chief Financial Officer?

Regular and long-time Force for Good readers may be experiencing déjà vu. At risk of being both redundant and self-congratulatory, here is an excerpt from a post this past March 15 that itself referenced a previous post on this subject:

Reputational momentum defines the art of the possible of nearly every other goal of the business or organization – sales, profits, retention, recruitment or fund-raising. If your reputation is on the rise, achieving your other goals is so much easier. Conversely, a poorly managed crisis leading to a significant drop in reputation can capsize even the company’s most valiant efforts to achieve its other goals.


This concept is so unquestionably true that it will become impossible to ignore … (here again is) a two-phase prediction I first made on this blog back in December: that five years from now the executive position of Chief Reputation Officer will be common in the C-Suites of major corporations in every industry, and that in 10 years, the Chief Reputation Officer will be just as likely as the Chief Financial Officer to step up and succeed a departing Chief Executive Officer. Why should the chief bean counter have a lock on the path to CEO … when the number of beans to be counted is predicated by the company’s reputational momentum?


Here’s wishing Press all the best. He’s blazing a trail that others will surely follow.


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  1. Jon – I’ve been working on a proposal to do a PhD on the topic of career planning in PR and one of the points I notice is how most career development models for practitioners see head of department as the pinnacle.
    Like you, I don’t understand why more PR people don’t see the top job as the natural extension of a career in reputation, relationship, risk and change management.


  1. [...] reputational conscience. (The Chief Communications Officer may be more appropriately renamed the Chief Reputation Officer, as I have suggested here since 2006.) Yes, the company’s reputation is every leader’s [...]

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