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Working in the issues-rich environment of the extractive industry, Dave Samson has taken a feisty approach to protecting Chevron’s reputation, particularly around the most high-profile threat to the company’s image: charges related to the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian rain forest.
Samson leads a team is responsible for all aspects of corporate communications, including media relations, employee communications, executive communications and issues management, as well as corporate branding and advertising.
It’s been quite a journey from Levi Strauss & Co, where Samson had some early in-house experience after working at Denver-based public relations firm MGA Communications. He joined Chevron from Oracle Corporation, where he was vice president of international public relations and executive communications. Prior to joining Oracle, he was a partner at Ketchum, where he oversaw the agency’s San Francisco operations; and director of international communications at IBM.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
I can think of many.
What do you love about this industry?
It operates at the nexus of business, technology and geopolitics.
What most frustrates you about this industry?
Nothing frustrates me. I am an optimist about our industry.
What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
Its ability to reinvent itself on a continuous basis.
How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
Hanging out with my family and going to the mountains.
Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
“Bad Blood”. It’s about the downfall of Elizabeth Holmes and the company she founded, Theranos. It has many, many lessons about what happens when ambition and the desire to win at any cost.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
I would be a rancher in Colorado.
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