The cult of CEO is big business

Ketchum and EUPRERA present the results of the European Chief Communication Officers Survey (ECCOS) 2013

A survey of some of Europe’s top heads of communication has revealed 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 ten corporate communication experts 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 (Leipzig University), leader of the international research team, said:


“The reputation of business leaders at large organisations is now so important. CEOs can make and 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 brand of the CEO has become shorthand for the brand of the organisation.” 


“The top executive of a company articulates and symbolises what their organisations are and what they stand for. The public often identify more with the people leading corporations than they do with the corporations themselves. Positioning the CEO as someone who can be remembered and trusted need careful planning. Companies who think it can be left to fate are taking a huge risk ", said Marina Čulić Fischer, partner in public relations agency DIALOG komunikacije, an exclusive affiliate of Ketchum.


About the survey

This is one of the topline results of the European Chief Communication Officers Survey (ECCOS) published by Ketchum, a leading international communication consultancy. The study analyzes the views of 579 heads of communications in corporations based across 39 European countries and employs 43 qualitative interviews with chief communication officers of global companies headquartered in Europe. The research was conducted by a research team of leading academics from five European universities, coordinated by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and supported by Ketchum.