Michel van Eesbeeck, group advertising manager for energy provider BP, fits the bill. Speaker of four languages, the Brussels-born 46-year-old came to his current position as leader of BP's global core-team from BP European headquarters in 1998.
BP's revenue gushed from $83.5 billion in 1999 to $148 billion in 2000, and Forbes touted it as "the hottest prospect in the oil patch." BP generates about half its sales from U.S. revenue.
Still, BP needed to buck consumer criticism of business practices that affect the environment and society. To be recognized as a responsible energy company, not just an oil company, the transformation had to begin from within. So, Mr. van Eesbeeck enabled BP to practice what it promotes.
"We knew that we needed to rapidly establish what we stand for both internally and externally," he asserts.
Stamped with a new green-hued sunburst logo called Helios, along with the phrase, "Beyond petroleum," campaign ads communicate BP's willingness to redefine its old ways of doing business. Mr. van Eesbeeck and BP worked directly with WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, which developed an integrated TV, print and outdoor board campaign launched in more than 50 countries. Spending was undisclosed. BP employees from across the globe participated in community projects to lend credence to the brand redefinition strategy.
"We believe corporations can be a force for good," affirms Mr. van Eesbeeck. Apparently, so can he.