NEW YORK - Facing some of the toughest challenges of their careers, US CEOs are re-addressing their crisis management plans and placing increasing emphasis on their own, and their corporations' communications.
Of the 194 CEOs who answered the 2001 PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO Survey, 21% said they had no crisis plan whatsoever when the terrorists struck on September 11. Another 63% had a crisis plan, but found it inadequate for dealing with the events. Just 19% thought their plan was excellent and worked well.
Accordingly, an astonishing 63% have already started to readdress their crisis planning in the wake of the tragic events, suggesting that agencies' crisis practices are experiencing an increase in work.
More than ever before, CEOs also appear to be recognising the importance of being the spokespeople for their corporations, especially at times of crisis: 85% of survey respondents said it was absolutely vital or very important for the CEO to be the figurehead. This compares to 42% who said it was very important last year.
Burson-Marsteller CEO Chris Komisarjevsky commented: "The qualities, values, and beliefs they [CEO's] demonstrate, particularly in a crisis, can have a huge impact on their corporations' reputation. This research shows CEOs see that link."
CEOs also gave a ringing endorsement of their PR departments and agencies. While 24% admitted they had cut the size of their communications staffs in the last 12 months, only 5% were planning cuts in the next year.
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