Paul Cohen | Influence 100 2022
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Paul Cohen

SVP Chief Communications Officer

With contactless card use and other fintech services on the rise, Paul Cohen wants consumers to think of Visa is more than a credit card company.  It’s been more than five years since Cohen left PayPal to take charge of global communications at Visa, returning to a company at which he previously spent more than a decade in the throes of the cashless payment movement. Cohen, who became VP of global corporate communications at PayPal in mid-2015, was previously Visa's SVP of corporate comms and marketing for North America. In the position that brought him back, he reports to Visa CMO Lynne Biggar and is part of the company's operating committee. His role includes responsibility for leading Visa's global communications function and enhancing the Visa brand with issuers, merchants, global consumers, employees, the media and influencers.

Cohen succeeded Michele Quintaglie, who departed Visa in 2016 following considerable flux across the company's marketing and communications department. In 2013, Visa had consolidated the function under Antonio Lucio, which preceded a number of senior comms departures.

While at PayPal, Cohen established the company’s first corporate communications function, managed communications related to its separation from eBay and public listing and oversaw PayPal's culture change initiative focusing on wellness, collaboration, innovation and inclusion. Earlier in his career, he was a partner at FleishmanHillard.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
During the initial stages of the pandemic, PR teams were called upon to help employees transition home and work in a hybrid environment. In our case, communications helped drive greater engagement and productivity as we worked from home.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Managing reputation in an environment where so much more is expected from companies by employees and shareholders.

What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
Resilience and the ability to adapt to a post-Covid world.

What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?
Still too much focus on media relations and influencers and less on reputation and true measurement.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?To be honest, I haven’t done the best job, but I try to disconnect through hiding, biking and spending time with family.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
The 10 Percent Happier podcast, Ted Lasso, Warriors basketball.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
A small business owner.

Sum up 2022 in one word.