It's the SEO guys who play the key role in online reputation management.
SEO people get to play a very decisive role when negative press about a person or establishment gets to the top of the search engines results pages. They then devise strategies and work hard to salvage the person's or company's online reputation.
It all begins with using different keywords to re-inforce and re-establish brands and product names online and focusses on ensuring brand-friendly hits by creating more positive news and online content and driving it all up in the search engines results pages. Then they go for link-building and finally go for finding out the source of the negative press and putting in positive things there, in the form of rebuttal or responses.
Working in tandem with others like content-writers and other technical guys, the SEO guys thus work wonders in online reputation management and make it all a great success.