EVP, communications and public affairs, National Football League
Earlier this year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told PRWeek that his league is "sometimes called the ‘NFL PR machine' and we take that as a compliment. As a business, the NFL was built on the game and PR. Now it is much more complex and Paul's team has proved to be very nimble in evolving our strategic direction."
When the NFL faced the nightmare scenario of a lockout last year, Hicks, who was hired in July 2010, mainly to assist in bringing a resolution to the impasse between owners and players, was a key driver not only in getting an agreement done, but in making sure fans were kept top of mind throughout.
His agency background, including eight years as regional CEO of the Americas at Ogilvy PR, and preceding years spent in Washington, give him a unique perspective in the sports world. It has also helped the NFL think more broadly about outreach efforts on topics such as player safety and its philanthropic endeavors.
The game's popularity is soaring. In the US sports arena, the NFL is a shining light. In the PR sector, the same could be said of the man who quarterbacks its communications.