Crafting a communications strategy around activist investors

It starts with assembling the right team, addressing shareholders and your board proactively, then putting a strategy in place.

Purpose communications, a catch-all term for corporate social responsibility messages that include DE&I, ESG and everything in between, are not going away. Nor are the activist investors — deep-pocketed individuals who use their dollars to drive change and increasingly pressure organizations to follow through on their purpose commitments. A trend that some consider to have officially kicked off in 2021 when an activist investor installed three directors on Exxon’s board to push the energy giant to reduce its carbon footprint has only grown more common in the years since.

Not all activist investors are successful. Just this week, activist investor Elliott Investment Management dissolved its stake in PayPal, soon after the personal finance company named Alex Chriss to take over as CEO beginning Sept. 27 (CNBC reports Elliott was not involved in selecting Chriss). Elliott’s failed attempt to influence PayPal’s business is a reminder that activists, who tend to diagnose what’s hurting a company and often have it out for the CEO, don’t always come out on top.

I Want to Keep Reading

This article is available exclusively to Communications Leadership Council members. Submit this form to unlock a preview.


Learn more about the Communications Leadership Council at