Morgan Crinklaw: 40 Under 40 2014

Manager, risk mitigation communications, Chevron
Age: 34

When Chevron faced one of its most important reputational issues ever, the company called Morgan Crinklaw.

He was appointed to his current role last year at a turning point in a 20-year legal battle in Ecuador where the global energy giant was immersed in a $19 billion lawsuit just months before the racketeering trial that would uncover extensive evidence of fraud in the case against the company.

Colleagues say the leadership he displayed during the seven-week trial against US lawyer Steven Donziger – the man behind the plaintiffs’ lawsuit in Ecuador – "cannot be understated."

He developed a flawless communications strategy, from ensuring the media had all the background on the case before going into the trial, to communicating the significance of the judgment.

Crinklaw was the company’s key point person and directed the actions of nearly a dozen agencies to ensure the dissemination of key information to media, employees, and shareholders, including via his own groundbreaking news website devoted to the case. This resulted in media coverage in major US and international media outlets.

Most importantly, Crinklaw successfully managed and enhanced Chevron’s reputation throughout the trial and continues that work today, despite ongoing attacks from activist groups and others.

"Even at his young age, Morgan demonstrated outstanding leadership in the communications profession," says Sam Singer, president of Singer Associates, which has worked with Chevron since 2007. "His work in spearheading the company’s international communications in the trial was one of the most important business success stories of 2013-14."

Described by Dave Samson, GM of public affairs at Chevron, as "an exceptional performer," Crinklaw’s efforts and strong relationships with the media were reflected in a March 2014 editorial in The Wall Street Journal calling the lawsuit against Chevron the "judicial fraud of the century."

Crinklaw also oversees the public affairs team responsible for managing all of Chevron’s remediation efforts worldwide, including more than 300 superfund projects.

 

• Crinklaw served as press secretary to the Minority Leader of the California State Assembly from 2004, campaigning on issues including prison reform. He became communications director in 2007

• He began his career at the California State Capital in time to witness the election of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

• Crinklaw and his wife Thuy have two children – Reagan, 5, and Harrison, 3

• He is involved in the Arthur W. Page Society Mentorship Program

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