The role of the top corporate communications officer is expanding both in scope and influence, according to the 2012 Korn/Ferry Chief Communications Officer Survey of Fortune 500 Companies.

This survey conducted by the Global Corporate Affairs Practice suggests that communications executives increasingly are taking part in defining the company’s strategic direction and articulating an updated corporate narrative. The responses from 148 CCOs also delved into the skill sets needed for the role, the background of CCOs, and emerging topics of concern.

Given today’s volatile and hyper-competitive business landscape, corporate reputation is a dominant area of focus. Accordingly many CCOs have taken on related responsibilities during the last two years: 42 percent have added social media; 23 percent social responsibility, philanthropy or foundation work; and 21 percent community relations.

For their broadening responsibilities CCOs are also well compensated. The survey found the median salary for a CCO approached $350,000. Including bonuses, more than 25 percent of CCOs had cash compensation above $700,000.

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