Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


The growing cult of the ceo

December 2013

A survey of some of Europe’s top communication leaders shows how strong the cult of the business ceo is becoming. With company news, successes and failure now so frequently attributed to specific individuals, the image of business leaders has become vital in terms of corporate reputation.

Nine out of 10 Chief Communication Officers throughout Europe say their ceo’s capacity to deal with the media and other critical audiences has become interwoven with the overall success and reputation of their corporations.

Explaining the headline results of this survey, Professor Ansgar Zerfass of Leipzig University, leader of the international research team, said: “The reputation of business leaders at large organizations is now so important. Ceos can make or break corporate brands. Gone are the days of figureheads gliding effortlessly behind the scenes. Today, leaked career moves and public failure can infect a brand severely and quickly. In many cases, the ceo’s brand has become shorthand for the brand of the organization.”  

Europe | corporate reputation


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