Corey duBrowa | Influence 100

Corey duBrowa 

VP Global Communications & Public Affairs 
Alphabet/ Google 



Corey duBrowa has made his mark at Google since he took the top communications post in 2018, doubling the communications team, which now exceeds 400 people, while also paring down the behemoth’s PR agency roster from 170+ firms to roughly half that. 

Managing Google’s reputation hasn’t been easy: the company has been beset with accusations of racism and sexism, and big tech is being hammered with calls for regulation from policymakers on both sides of the aisle and across the world.

This all comes as Google has entered a new era in which co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are no longer involved in the day-to-day. CEO Sundar Pichai, who duBrowa reports into, became chief executive of both Google and its parent company, Alphabet in 2019. But the transitions, and the company’s dizzying non-stop growth, have also revealed cracks in its culture, which was once considered as innovative as its products. Company veterans criticized management’s lack of transparency and last year Pichai even acknowledged that Google is “genuinely struggling” with employee trust. 

DuBrowa came to Google after a brief detour to Salesforce. His leap into the technology sector follows a seven-year stint at Starbucks that saw him work closely with Howard Schultz to develop a uniquely progressive brand reputation. He also built a strong corporate culture under Schultz — an experience he can, perhaps, now draw upon for Google.

DuBrowa has earned multiple industry awards over the past 20 years, including the Individual Achievement Award at the 2020 Innovation SABRE Awards — North America, plus four SABRE Awards, two PRWeek Global awards, three PRSA Silver Anvils, and the University of Oregon Alumni Association’s Jeanne Johnson Service Award. He is currently on the Arthur W. Page Society's Board of Trustees, and serves on the USC Annenberg School's Board of Advisors. And, lest we forget, he was also a music journalist for two decades, with more than a thousand bylines in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to No Depression to GQ.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?Working with Howard Schultz at Starbucks gave me a ringside seat to a very engaged CEO and a very good comms team working in partnership to create programs that had a very direct impact on that company's business (and by extension, reputation).

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?Diversity, equity and inclusion. Both, in one. We need to get after this in a real/systemic way.

What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
Resilience during the biggest public health crisis of our lifetimes.

What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?
Lack of progress with DE&I. This needs to change.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
I took up an old hobby and started DJing at a Bay Area radio station again. Great fun and something that requires you to be totally ‘present’ in order to be any good at it.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
I have quite enjoyed the first couple of episodes of Jeremy Clarkson's Farm – I can relate in so many ways!

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
A fly fishing guide. I need some work on my game, though.

Sum up 2021 in one word.