1. Steve Harris, VP of global comms, General Motors
Bailout rejection aside, GM got its share of flak when CEO Rick Wagoner took a private jet to DC to ask for $25 billion in federal aid. Whatever changes lay ahead for the Big Three in 2009, Harris will have his hands full.
2. Judy Leon, acting assoc. commissioner of public affairs, FDA
Leon took the role in October after a tough year for the FDA.
3. Nicholas Ashooh, SVP of communications, AIG
A government bailout was followed by a luxury retreat for execs and reports of hunting trips and resort stays after it got a multibillion-dollar government loan.
4. Adele Ambrose, VP and chief communications officer, Merck
While all pharma companies face slowing pipelines and changes from the policy and regulatory sides, Merck still deals with the fallout from Vioxx and Gardasil.
5. Catherine Mathis, SVP of corporate comms, The New York Times Company
The Times had to deal with news about bringing in new investors, folding its Metro section, and more than one person who decided to scale the company's New York City headquarters.
6. Jill Nash, CCO, Yahoo
The back and forth between Yahoo and Microsoft merger talks continued in 2008, but went nowhere. In November, founder Jerry Yang said he'd step down.
7. M. Russell Ballard and Quentin Cook, elders who oversee public affairs, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The church sought to distance it-self from Texas' polygamous sect after federal agents seized 400 kids from a compound. Months later, it found itself defending its role in the passing of Proposition 8.
8. Patti McTeague, SVP of kids' comms, Disney-ABC TV Group
Fans of Miley Cyrus accepted her apology for racy photos. Yet, the Vanity Fair shoot where it appeared she was topless ended in a statement of embarrassment.
9. Marianne Amssoms, VP of global external communications, Anheuser-Busch InBev
When Belgian company InBev bought Anheuser-Busch and its iconic Budweiser brand, it faced a public battle. Now it has to tackle layoffs, integration issues, and learning “the American way.”
10. Roger Frizzell, VP of advertising and corporate comms, American Airlines
It faced cuts in its fleet and workforce to deal with rising costs – just months after grounding 2,500 flights in April that didn't meet government inspection standards.