Vanessa Fuhrmans and Joann Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2017

The news that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias while he was chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. surprised much of the business world—if only for his moniker’s creativity.

Many executives have an alternate company email address, or even two or three, business leaders and executive coaches say. But it is rare that those aliases take on an entirely different identity.

There is a distinction between using an alternate email address and adopting an alter ego, said Davia Temin, chief executive of reputation- and crisis-management firm Temin & Co., who says such an alias is often an attempt to maintain privacy “in such a porous world.” She advises against the urge. Even if messages from the alternate address circulate solely among company executives, “it looks as if it is meant to hide” something, she said.

More common, Ms. Temin says, is for executives to set up a social-media alias to join a Twitter conversation or other debate without disclosing their identities. […read more]