Leaders say CEOs ‘should mend trust’

Top executives believe that the CEOs of companies with damaged reputations bear full responsibility for restoring trust in a corporate brand, according to a survey by Burson-Marsteller.

The study, conducted among 150 Fortune 1000 executives, found that 68 per cent of executives and 32 per cent of board members believe the CEO should restore a tarnished image.

An apology from the CEO was considered by the majority to be the most important first step in a reputation recovery plan. But the survey revealed that a blow to corporate confidence has occurred since last year.

Ninety per cent of executives believed that although restoring corporate reputation is a monumental task, it is not impossible, compared to 97 per cent last year.

This decrease in confidence was also reflected in supposed recovery times.

Executives believed reputation recovery takes on average more than four years, slightly longer than what was believed to be the case last year (3.8 years).

In comparison, most executives believed it takes less than three years for a crisis to fade in the minds of most stakeholders.

On the issue of apologies for wrongdoings, B-M UK deputy chairman Gavin Grant said the lesson was the same for political and business leaders.

‘When you have an angry audience, trust in corporate and political leaders declines significantly. Before an audience is willing to engage their trust again they want to see the leader acknowledge the error,’ he said.

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