Survey rates best CEOs

Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose has come top in a report analysing media coverage of FTSE 100 CEOs.

M&S: CEO grabs top spot
M&S: CEO grabs top spot

The report shows that CEOs in Britain's biggest firms are under increasing pressure to get their media handling right - and that some are doing very much better than others.

POWER OF PERSUASION: See the complete Citigate Dewe Rogerson & Media Report

The survey looked at coverage in 2007. Rose came top in terms of weight of positive coverage garnered. He leads four CEOs who sit head and shoulders above the rest of the table: Sainsbury's Justin King, ITV's Michael Grade and a pre-Terminal 5 Willie Walsh at British Airways.

‘The ability to communicate what is happening to investors and journalists is part of having a clear business strategy,' said Citigate Dewe Rogerson CEO Jonathan Clare, whose agency co-authored the survey with Media Report. ‘It is about presenting strategy in a way that means you take people with you.'

According to the survey, Rose garnered only 15 pieces of negative coverage in 2007,
although this was on the back of improving figures for the firm and ahead of a sharehol-der confidence blip this year regarding his future role.

‘There is a bias towards companies the public knows well, such as supermarkets and high-street retailers,' said Clare. ‘It is a challenge for all CEOs to fight for positive space within media that are not necessarily tuned to them.'

He also noted that the average length of tenure fell from five to four-and-a-half years.
‘Coverage for FTSE 100 CEO's has doubled since 2005,' said Clare. ‘This creates great pressure and greater visibility.'

Citigate MD Deborah Saw pointed to the fact that Gareth Davis of Imperial Tobacco is
in 16th place (of 129 CEOs), despite working for a firm constantly under fire from pressure groups and health lobbyists.

How I see it
Flic Howard-Allen
M&S director of comms and CSR

We take communications very seriously at M&S; our customers care deeply about what we do and how we serve them. Also, we have a comprehensive internal communications programme to reach all members of staff.

We have a wide range of stakeholders with whom we have a regular dialogue. We have continuous communications with them - our shareholders, analysts and an increasingly large sector of the press - reflecting the diversity of the products we sell and the custo-mers to whom we sell them.

We invest considerable time in building relations with the media across broadcast, online and print outlets. Stuart is the public face of M&S and plays a leading role in this process.

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