World’s Largest Study on Reputation Reveals Importance of CEO Activism and Social Responsibility Above Financial Performance
Reputation Institute (RI), the world’s leading provider of reputation measurement, management and intelligence services, announced the company’s first-ever CEO RepTrak study. The results indicate Sundar Pichai of Google is the world’s most reputable CEO. Pichai stands out for his responsible leadership and is viewed as excellent on the merits of fiscal, social and environmental responsibility. Denise Morrison of the Campbell Soup Company and Tatsumi Kimishima of Nintendo received honorable mentions among the world’s Top 10 most reputable CEOs.
The world’s largest reputation study of its kind, the CEO RepTrak is based on more than 28,000 individual ratings collected in the first quarter of 2018 across the G15 economies. It includes unique insights into the dynamics behind reputational impact. The global study shows what drives CEO reputation, the direct correlation between corporate reputation and stakeholder support.
“The rubric for what it takes to be a great leader is quickly shifting,” said Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, Chief Reputation Officer at Reputation Institute. “Assessing a CEO’s performance based solely on financial returns is no longer enough. There is a new era emerging in which the intangibles of reputation are driving political, social and economic change, and giving CEOs reason to reconsider their role as a leader. To be relevant as a contemporary leader today, you need to be a CEO with a conscience.”
The RepTrak results show strong leadership across a range of industries internationally, including financial services, technology, food and beverage, consumer and hospitality. Within the global study, six of the top 10 CEOs are executives of US companies and three are CEOs of European businesses. The list of top 10 business leaders globally recognized in RI’s 2018 CEO RepTrak study (in alphabetical order) are:
- Giorgio Armani of Giorgio Armani
- Keith Barr of InterContinental Hotels Group
- Fabrizio Freda of The Esteé Lauder Company
- Ralph Hamers of ING
- Bernard Hess of The Kraft Heinz Company
- Tatsumi Kimishima of Nintendo
- Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup Company
- Sundar Pichai of Google
- Dirk Van de Put of Mondelez International
- Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn
Key findings from the study demonstrate the importance for CEOs to be publicly visible leaders and willing to take a stand on key issues. Results revealed a direct and strong correlation between CEO reputation and how their organizations are perceived by the public, which in turn drives the supportive behaviors across stakeholder groups. CEO familiarity within the general public provides a +10.5 point lift in corporate reputation for the benefit of the company. In particular, CEO reputation has the strongest influence on the dimensions of Citizenship (+9.9 points), Governance (+9.6 points) and Leadership (+8.1 points). Overall, CEO reputation globally accounts for 14 percent of corporate reputation and 16 percent of corporate reputation in the US, one of the highest percentages worldwide.
The study results reveal the importance of CEO activism, with the dimension of responsibility – which includes behaving ethically and caring about social causes – comprising almost one-third of CEO reputation. The central characteristic identified with the top 10 CEOs include public perceptions for empathy, trust, consistency, social responsibility and openness.
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