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Christof Ehrhart took over as head of corporate communications at Deutsche Post DHL in 2009. Since then he has established an integrated strategic approach for the Group combining reputation building and stakeholder engagement in order to build social capital.
Reporting directly to the CEO Frank Appel, Ehrhart has built a global communications department and profiled the company’s reputation, focusing on a dialogue-based approach to communications with a strong commitment to business metrics. He has extended the company’s social responsibility programs and added a specific initiative to deal with the refugee crisis. Perhaps most notable, Ehrhart introduced a range of thought leadership initiatives including a series of Delphi studies entitled “Delivering Tomorrow” which deal with the future of the logistics industry and the DHL Global Connectedness Index which measures the degree of globalization of the world economy. A side of the company´s broad range of digital platforms he is writing his own blog on the future of PR: www.futureproofingpr.com
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.
Can you share a moment in your career that you recognized PR's direct impact on business performance?
The most recent one was when in March 2017, we introduced a zero emission target for 2050 which was developed and communicated by my team. This is not only good for the planet but also a great customer acquisition tool for our sales teams.
What are the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
Right now digitalisation poses a significant challenge and great opportunity at the same time. Corporate communications as a discipline has to find the right balance between total disruption and mere complementation.
How do you handle the unexpected?
By working in permament crisis mode (processes) and by digesting big data (algorithm-based) and small data (androrithm-based) at the same time.
How do you relax?
By reading, doing all kinds of sports preferably outdoors and above all by spending time with my family.
Book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
Book: 1984, by George Orwell (1949)
Movie: The King´s Speech, by Tom Hooper (2010)
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
researching the societal contribution of professional communication in the age of VUCA and teach the next generation of communicators and leaders.
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