Sally Susman | Influence 100

Sally Susman 

EVP & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer 



Pfizer became a household name in 2020, when it produced the first Covid vaccine approved for use in the US. That milestone, however, gave rise to a plethora of communications challenges, as Pfizer, along with players across the healthcare industry, faced convincing doubters of the safety of the inoculation.

Sally Susman, Pfizer’s senior communicator, is a staunch advocate of the view that only earned media can deliver the authenticity and credibility that companies need to build reputation, particularly critical amidst such challenges. “If we pay, it’s immediately tainted,” she said, addressing the loss of public trust in big pharmaceutical companies. Susman has invested in efforts such as the “Maintain” program, which offered free prescriptions to patients laid off during the economic crisis, or the company’s award-winning push into social media—which many pharma companies continue to regard with suspicion.

As EVP of corporate affairs for the world’s largest biopharmaceutical company, Susman is a member of Pfizer’s executive leadership team, chairs Pfizer’s political action committee — she was a prominent fundraiser for former President Obama — and is vice chair of The Pfizer Foundation. She directs Pfizer’s global communications, its interactions with external and internal audiences, its public affairs activities, and its corporate responsibility group.

Before joining Pfizer in 2007, Susman was EVP of global communications at The Estée Lauder Companies. She also held several senior communications and government relations posts at American Express Company and earlier spent eight years in government service focused on international trade issues.