Embrace Change – Marian Salzman on International Women’s Day 2021


Editor’s Note:  CommPRO reached out to Marian Salzman, Senior Vice President, Communications at Philip Morris International to share her thoughts about the celebration of International Women’s Day 2021.



About: Marian Salzman, senior vice president, global communications at Philip Morris International (PMI), has been named one of the world’s top five trendspotters and is among the world’s most-awarded public relations executives. In recent years, she has been listed in PRWeek’s Global Power Book and as a PR News Top Woman in PR. She is also the recipient of the She Runs It 2017 Changing the Game Award, has been inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Femme and Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, and was on the Holmes Report Top Innovators List and on Business Insider’s 25 Most Powerful PR People.

In April 2018, Marian moved to Switzerland and embarked on her greatest challenge to date, heading global communications at Philip Morris International (PMI) as it embarks on its journey to build a smoke-free future. Charged with developing a proactive, multilayered communications program to accelerate PMI’s vision, Marian is forging active and productive alliances with NGOs, advocacy groups, regulators and other parties involved in shaping the environment in which a smoke-free future can be realized.

Since Marian took charge of global communications at PMI, she has made bold strategic moves to transform the function itself and how it sits within the company. Her goal: reintroduce PMI into, as she puts it, “civilized society” and engage that society in meaningful conversations about the future of tobacco. Reporting directly to Global CEO André Calantzopoulos, she is remaking the group—including directly overseeing a staff of almost 100 communications professionals based on three continents who are responsible for media relations, scientific engagement, content development, crisis management, internal communications, sponsorships and more. She is ensuring that PMI is positioned at the forefront of a new discussion about tobacco and the reduced-risk products (RRPs) available today and in development.

Marian Salzman—A Globally Recognized Trendspotter

Before joining PMI, Marian was CEO of Havas PR North America for nearly a decade, and chaired its global PR assets known as its PR Collective (networked but not a network). There, she reshaped the creative output, creating one of the most buzzed-about boutique agencies in North America and achieving top-five status at key U.S. and global awards shows. Marian also served on the Havas Worldwide general managers group and as co-chairman of the company’s first international steering committee for its social media assets. In recognition of these efforts, she was named PRWeek’s PR Professional of the Year for 2011.

Prior to Havas PR, Marian was the chief marketing officer at both Porter Novelli and JWT Worldwide and the chief strategic officer at Euro RSCG Worldwide (Havas Creative). Her first international assignment was in the 1990s, as the Amsterdam-based lead of TBWA’s Department of the Future. Marian was also an entrepreneur who launched American Dialogue (Cyberdialogue) focus groups in cyberspace back in the early 1990s, when the online world was seen as a place for geeks and oddballs, ultimately selling the company a few years later. Her business partner then was advertising agency legend Jay Chiat; ultimately, he appointed her Chiat/Day’s first head of emerging media and consumer insights ahead of Chiat/Day merging with TBWA International. Among her most famous consumer campaigns are the launch of “metrosexual” to create a marketplace for SABMiller’s Peroni (metrosexual became the word of the year in 2003 and continues to be used around the globe more than 15 years later); Pepsi’s “It’s Like This”; and “It’s America Online.”

As a sought-after speaker, she presents across the globe on topics from health trends to branding to generational differences and more. Marian is the author or co-author of 16 books, including Buzz, the first big business book on buzz marketing, and her latest, Agile PR: Expert Messaging in a Hyper-Connected, Always-on World (2017; AMACOM). Marian is an honors graduate of Brown University.