John Saunders, president and CEO, FleishmanHillard: Power List 2016

2016 rank: 38

When it comes to "soft power," no one in my experience has mastered its creation and application as has John Saunders. This stems from a place very deep in John’s psyche: a burning sense of right and wrong, fairness and injustice; a non-negotiable pact to keep promises and the ability to strike and maintain enduring relationships.

All are wrapped in a quietly competitive frame that gives no quarter. His employees sense his fire and moral compass, which is amplified along with his other qualities by an uncanny ability to communicate. Through the written and spoken word, personally, in groups, or in video, he is suited to every medium.

It’s no wonder his first six months at FleishmanHillard have been standard-setters in every measure of success. Yet he is only now beginning to make his mark. As the first non-U.S. CEO of FleishmanHillard, and one of the few among major agencies anywhere, John brings a global perspective that is innate and immutable. It simply is.

Whether walking with CEOs or CCOs, ambassadors or sheiks, prime ministers or presidents, John’s class as a human being first has become his most potent calling card for a firm on the cusp of another great run.

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