Oscar Suris: Power List 2014

EVP, corporate communications, Wells Fargo

2014 rank: 32
2013 rank: 31

By Frank Ovaitt, president and CEO, Institute for Public Relations

If you believe effective use of research will define PR professionalism going forward, you should listen to Oscar Suris, who co-chairs the IPR board. He could not be more direct in saying that a PR pro’s development is incomplete without harnessing research and analytics.

In May, Suris pledged Wells Fargo’s support for the first set of standards published by the Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards.

He said: "A common language would help elevate research’s role in our profession and would send a clear message that the understanding and leveraging of research and measurement have become vital to success."

That also describes how Suris earned the respect of top management at Wells Fargo when he joined the bank in 2009 in the immediate wake of the financial crisis.

"In the eyes of the public, all big banks were in the reputation dog house," he said. "We needed proof points and stories that spoke to the values and concerns of the post-financial-crisis era. Our reputational research was invaluable and no doubt saved Wells Fargo from moments of public tone-deafness."

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