Christof Ehrhart | Influence 100

Christoph Ehrhart

Head of corporate communications and corporate responsibility and executive vice president
Deutsche Post DHL Group

Christof Ehrhart took over as head of corporate communications at Deutsche Post DHL in 2009 with a mandate to rebuild employee morale and restore public trust following the departure of former chief executive Klaus Zumwinkel amid tax evasion charges. 

Working closely with new CEO Frank Appel, Ehrhart has had an immediate impact, completely restructuring the company’s global communications department and restoring the company’s reputation, focusing on a dialogue-based approach to communications with a strong commitment to business metrics. He has also revitalized the company’s social responsibility reporting, emphasizing a dual focus on “respect and results.” Perhaps most notable, Ehrhart introduced a major thought leadership initiative: a Delphi study entitled “Delivering Tomorrow” that has served as the basis for a series of stakeholder dialogues around the world and the company’s very active blog. 

Before joining DHL, Ehrhart was head of corporate communications at EADS, and he has worked in senior communications roles at a number of German and overseas multinationals, including Bertelsmann and later AOL Bertelsmann, JT International Germany, and Schering AG.

Please share a notable career highlight. 
Just returned from the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul where we presented a study on success factors in Private Public Partnerships (PPP) in Humanitarian Aid based upon Deutsche Post DHL Group´s 10-year cooperation with UN-OCHA in Desaster Response. Sitting among heads of states and key responsible players of NGOs while being exposed as a model partner for the UN was definitely a great experience.

What is the most rewarding/challenging aspect about a career in communications/marketing?
Preparing and living up to dealing with the unknown in an ever more complex political, economic and societal environment.

What skills/experience will the CCO of the future need that may not be required today?
The future of corporate communications leads back to our past a profession. Small audiences are more important than big ones, listening beats talking and focusing on topics of relevance outperforms ultimately creating short-term public opinion significance.

What skill/experience is required of today's CCO that might not be as relevant in the future?
Patience with those who still don't understand the role that Corporate Communications can play as a strategic success factor of business: This will be a given in the future. Hopefully...

Who or what inspires you to be your best? 
My kids.

What is on your must-read/view/listen to list? 
As of today: Must-read – Luciano Floridi: The 4. Revolution. Must-view – The Big Short. Must-listen to – P. Barber: Crazy, Modern, Cool

Most interesting place you've traveled to?
The remote and deserted wilderness of northern Canada / Alaska. No noise, no movement, plain whiteout...