CEO 101: Survey Finds Company Reputation Closely Tied to Its CEO


It’s no surprise that a CEO’s reputation can positively or negatively affects a brand’s overall image. But a new study finds that nearly half of a company’s corporate reputation (45%) is attributable to its CEO’s reputation.

“The CEO Reputation Premium: Gaining Advantage in the Engagement Era,” study from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, is based on an online survey of more than 1,700 senior executives across 19 countries in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

“CEO engagement has become an important driver of company value,” said Micho Spring, Weber Shandwick’s Global Corporate practice chair.  [more]

Some of the survey’s top-line findings include:

  • 81% of global executives report that external CEO engagement is now a mandate for building company reputation.
  • Global executives attribute 44% of their company’s market value to the reputation of their CEO.
  • 50% of global executives expect CEO reputation will impact company reputation even more in coming years.
  • 77% of global executives say that a positive CEO reputation attracts new employees, and 70% say it retains employees.
  • Highly regarded CEOs are three times more likely to participate in social media than CEOs with weak reputations.

The “CEO’s Guide to Reputation and Engagement” section of the report includes actions brands can follow to improve and expand on the way the CEO is perceived. Steps include identifying and developing the CEO’s story on behalf of the company, developing a solid social media strategy, bolstering the CEO’s reputation among employees, and bulking up on media training. Notably, it cautions against viewing the CEO’s humility as a weakness.

“CEO reputation continues to be a premium form of currency and wealth in an economy where companies trade on their reputations every day,” notes the report. “As Michael Fertik, founder and CEO of, says, ‘Reputation is the new oil.’”

Harvard Business Review evaluated CEO performance based on increases in total shareholder return and market capitalization. The top three performers Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon, John Martin of Gilead Sciences and John Chambers, of Cisco Systems.

The Weber Shandwick study ultimately suggests that the most effective CEO is humble but engaged, and public-facing without being overtly political.


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