|PUBLIC RELATIONS: Ray Day
Vice president of communications, Ford Motor Co.
Product is news: As key rival Toyota Motor Corp. battled bad news this year, Ford's public image kept improving. That's partly because of Day's subtle and savvy approach to public relations. His strategy is simple: Keep the media focused on product innovation. With Ford introducing new technology regularly, Day, 43, has plenty of opportunities to consistently tout new features and keep the news positive. And when the bad news that Ford will kill its Mercury brand by year end was leaked in June, Day nimbly shifted to damage control. He made senior executives immediately accessible to the media and regained control of the message.