Sunday, 2 November 2008

Leaders promoting visible philanthropic activities create highest level of respect

Leadership and vision is one of the pillars that determines the reputation of an organization. The foundations of this pillar are not falling apart but one cannot deny that we are experiencing a national and global shortage of trust in America's leaders. This lack of trust is reflected in the tarnished reputations of American corporations, the U.S. government and the failing financial systems. But, as shown by a recent finding from Reputation Institute, reputations of leaders can be strengthened through a strategic combination of heartfelt actions and communication.

A new study by Reputation Institute names Microsoft's Bill Gates as the most admired CEO in the United States, with 35% of the general public viewing him as the leader they admire most. In addition to Microsoft's Bill Gates, real estate tycoon Donald Trump and Warren E. Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway are the three most respected leaders in the U.S. while CEO of Harpo Productions Oprah Winfrey and Apple's Steve Jobs round out the top five.

"Being seen as a visionary leader who can deliver strong results on the bottom line at the same time as being a good corporate citizen is what the US general public admires. Leaders who link their philanthropic involvement to the core business purpose of their organization are creating the highest level of respect and admiration" says Kasper Nielsen, Managing Partner of the Reputation Institute.

According to Reputation Institute research, the reputation of an entire corporation is built on seven dimensions: products & services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, performance, and vision & leadership. Those final three - citizenship, performance and leadership - have the strongest tie to CEOs. Gates, Buffett and Winfrey each have very visible commitments to philanthropic endeavors. Gates, Trump and Jobs are respected because they have lead their companies to strong financial performance, and all the top five are savvy managers. Though not essential, a strong CEO with these characteristics supports a company's overall reputation strategy and ultimately its bottom line.

After the top five, the next admired corporate leaders include former Chrysler Corporation CEO Lee Iacocca, the late Sam Walton of Wal-Mart, Martha Stewart CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as well as former CEOs and presidential nominees Ross Perot (Electronic Data Systems) and Mitt Romney (Bain & Co.).

Top 10 Most Admired CEO's

1 Bill Gates
2 Donald Trump
3 Warren Buffett
4 Oprah Winfrey
5 Steve Jobs
6 Lee (Lido) Iacocca
7 Sam Walton
8 Martha Stewart
9 Ross Perot
10 Mitt Romney

The 2008 Most Admired CEO Study asked over 7,450 American consumers to name up to three CEO's in the United States that they admire most. CEOs were ranked according to number of mentions in response to the question "Please name up to three CEO's in the United States that you admire most." The data was collected between February and March 2008 during fielding for Reputation Institute's annual Global Pulse Study, a study of the reputations of the largest 600 companies in 27 countries, including the 150 largest U.S. companies.


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