Legal & General CEO Nigel Wilson named top FTSE 100 communicator

Legal & General chief executive Nigel Wilson has been named the most influential communicator among the UK's top bosses, according to a report by Aberfield Communications.

Nigel Wilson: Chief executive of Legal & General tops report of UK bosses
Nigel Wilson: Chief executive of Legal & General tops report of UK bosses

The 2014 Footsie Influencer Report, which ranked FTSE 100 chief executives, saw Wilson beat easyJet’s Carolyn McCall and BT’s Gavin Patterson to the top spot.

This year Wilson became the first Footsie chief to call for a renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership, sparking a high-profile political debate.

He has also formed a partnership with Shelter to create a new ‘garden city’ in Kent.

Phil Reed, managing director of Aberfield Communications, said: "Campaigning for social change is not the typical behaviour of a financial services CEO. Nigel Wilson has stepped well outside his industry boundaries to challenge politicians and business leaders alike." 

This is the third annual report with last year’s leader being former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King and Unilever chief Paul Polman in 2012.

The study looks at a range of criteria and evaluates how CEOs' messages are communicated and received within their own industry, the UK business community and beyond.

McCall is the highest ranked woman in the report and has risen from third place in 2013 to second this year. Royal Mail’s Moya Greene is the other woman to be ranked in the top 10.  

The report also highlights a correlation between the most influential CEOs and financial performance. During 2014, the FTSE 100 rose by 2.75 per cent, but the combined share prices of the companies with the 10 most influential bosses rose by 7.18 per cent over the same period.

Reed added: "Our research certainly suggests that being an influential communicator isn’t just good for the CEO’s profile, it’s also an indicator of the company’s financial health."


2014 top ten:

1          Nigel Wilson                          Legal & General

2          Carolyn McCall                      easyJet (2013 = 3rd)

3          Gavin Patterson                     BT      

4          Lord Wolfson                         Next (2013 = 7th)

5          Moya Greene                         Royal Mail

6          Sir Martin Sorrell                   WPP (2013 = 4th)

7          Paul Polman                          Unilever (2013 = 2nd)

8          Willie Walsh                           IAG (2013 = 9th)

9          Ross McEwan                        RBS

10        Christopher Bailey                Burberry

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