You do not get the top communications role at global energy giant Chevron without having the ability to get down in the trenches and fight for your cause against serious and determined opponents.
Dave Samson's mettle has been tested by Chevron's ongoing issue in Ecuador relating to historical activities in the region by Texaco, acquired by Chevron in 2001, which has turned into one of the biggest legal battles ever.
Samson also takes a hard line on client conflicts within his agencies and fired Ogilvy PR last year after a representative of the firm reportedly spoke with a group advocating for the preservation of the Ecuadorian rainforest, resulting in a "serious, material conflict of interest." It reflected views he laid out in PRWeek last May that agency partnerships should be built on "trust, candor, and transparency."
An active member of the Arthur W. Page Society, Samson is working on initiatives to harness data analytics to manage issues at Chevron rather than just consumer engagement.
He likens such "above-the-ground" techniques to the strategy Chevron deploys when it uses predictive analytics to monitor geology below the ground.