Matthias Berninger | Influence 100 2022
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Matthias Berninger

EVP Public Affairs, Science, Sustainablity and HSE

Berninger, a former German Green party politician from 1993 to 2007, is no stranger to the cut and thrust of front-line politics around controversial topics that he handles in his role at Bayer. His decision to suspend FleishmanHillard from its work with Bayer/Monsanto after the alleged data breach in 2019 shocked many in the communications industry, in-house and in agencies, but quickly cemented Berninger’s influence within the firm.

Before joining Bayer, Matthias Berninger held a variety of senior comms roles at Mars, including global public policy director, VP corporate affairs, and VP public affairs.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
Many in which businesses were able to balance presence and relevance well. That’s my definition of good PR.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Managing the transition from globalization to a more polarized world in which essential stuff needs to get done.

What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
Real progress in communicating impact over stories related to sustainability across many sectors.

What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?
How, half-way through, we collectively fall short of delivering against the 2030 #SDGs is more disappointing than anything the PR industry failed in.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?Cycling and rowing powered by Audible and walking powered by my dog Cooper.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
Scientist Vaclav Smil explains to impatient me why transitions take so much longer.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Hopefully happy and fulfilled doing something else.

Sum up 2022 in one word.