CEOs account for almost half of a company’s image

NEW YORK: Corporate wallflowers beware - almost half of a company’s reputation is based upon the image of its top dog.

NEW YORK: Corporate wallflowers beware - almost half of a company’s reputation is based upon the image of its top dog.

NEW YORK: Corporate wallflowers beware - almost half of a company’s

reputation is based upon the image of its top dog.



That was the main finding of Burson-Marsteller’s latest look at the

impact of CEO reputation. The study, entitled ’Maximizing CEO

Reputation,’ surveyed about 1,400 ’business influentials,’ a group

including CEOs, senior executives, financial analysts, government

officials and journalists.



In 1997, Burson found that CEO reputation accounted for 40% of a

company’s reputation. This year, that figure rose to 45%.



Communicating a vision inside the company, credibility and retaining a

quality senior management team are the most important characteristics

affecting CEO reputation, according to the study. Increasing shareholder

wealth, meanwhile, ranked next to last.



’The point is that people want to hear more from a CEO than the numbers

game,’ said chief knowledge officer Leslie Gaines-Ross.



Jim Gregory, CEO of Corporate Branding, agreed that the key is for CEOs

to project a vision for the future. However, he said this means little

unless corporate behavior is aligned with that vision. ’Ultimately,

that’s the CEOs responsibility,’ Gregory said. ’The problem is, they

don’t know that. Are they at fault for that? Yes.’



Burson claimed that coverage of CEOs in newspapers and business

publications increased 23% between 1993 and 1998, and cited Time

magazine naming Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos as Man of the Year as an

example of the growing link between the CEO and corporate

reputation.



Having an admired CEO pays dividends in many ways: 81% of respondents

said they would believe a company if it was under pressure from the

media and 80% said they would recommend a company as a good place to

work.



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