Ken Cohen: Power List 2007

VP for public affairs, ExxonMobil

A major point of contention for consumers during the past year and a half has been the rising price of gas and the negative effect that it's had on their wallets. And it's Ken Cohen's responsibility to explain to consumers and the media that despite the company's repeated record-setting quarters of $10 billion in earnings, it's not the gas companies that set the prices. Cohen and his team got CEO Rex Tillerson on NBC's Today, the first energy company CEO to appear on the show to discuss the rising gas prices. Educating the public on how the energy industry works is a top priority for Cohen and his 400 staffers worldwide. The crux of this effort, he told PRWeek back in February 2006, was face-to-face discussions with policymakers, citizen groups, and members of the media to go over "Exxon's basic communication tool," called the Energy Outlook presentation. Cohen is also responsible for handling government relations, PR, and corporate communications. In addition, he helped guide the company's entry into the realm of new media; Cohen led ExxonMobil's first briefing with bloggers to explain its position on climate change. While it's a strategy that other companies have certainly taken, Cohen's use of such a tactic speaks to his dedication to demystifying ExxonMobil and relating to consumers on another level.

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