FleishmanHillard Chief: Companies Can’t Remain Neutral; Must Choose Issues They’ll Address

[Editor’s Note: We always relish the opportunity to speak with John Saunders, president and CEO of FleishmanHillard. The occasion this time was Collision 2021, where we asked Saunders about his priorities and what’s on the minds of CEOs he speaks with daily.

While he concedes the pandemic’s devastation, Saunders believes organizations are stronger now than before COVID-19. He attributes this to: the ascension of corporate values; the visible action taken on critical issues; and an unprecedented perception of the importance of communication. This dialogue was edited for space and clarity.]


PRNEWS: It seems common knowledge that consumers, at least Gen X-ers and Millennials, insist companies take stands on political and social issues. What if a company wants to avoid issues? What’s your advice?

John Saunders: Political polarization is affecting all of us. Companies have to balance not only what consumers might want, but also what their employees and other key stakeholders might prioritize.

Companies can’t directly avoid political and social issues. They are like the air we breathe and the water we drink, but they can choose what to take an overt stand on.


Access to all Crisis Insider articles, quarterly reports and valuable blueprints for crisis management.


Per Month Lowest Price


Best Value!

Unlimited access to all Premium and Crisis Insider articles and monthly reports.

First Year Offer


Per Month


Unlimited access to all Premium digital intelligence, 10-year web archive and monthly reports.

Save $140 With Annual Subscription


Per Month