Nora Senior, hon. immediate past president at British Chambers of Commerce, told the CIPR National Conference 2016 yesterday how CEO reputation is key to rebuilding trust in the current UK business environment.
Prior to the EU Referendum, Senior said, the majority of big businesses expressed a wish to remain in the EU, while smaller businesses, on the whole, wanted to leave. Many major businesses, therefore, regarded the leave vote as a loss and, more pertinently for the communications industry, were, “actively positioned as part of the problem,” she said.
Senior said: “Many individuals feel that business is something that needs to be fixed.” This lack of trust leads to an inability to communicate effectively.
Senior argued that the CEO is key to rebuilding trust. The recession damaged CEO reputation, she said, and since then, businesses have been fully-engaged in rebuilding their businesses, not their reputations.
However, the benefits of a strong CEO reputation include the ability to attract investors and generate positive media coverage: “For a company to be highly regarded, its CEO needs to be visibly engaged with its many audiences. Keeping a low profile is not going to work any more.”
She added: “Humble CEOs are being noticed.” The types of CEOs who are noticed in the current climate are those who engage with their employees, who engage with the media, and who are on social media. “Practice humility,” she suggested.
Senior also recommended that businesses invest in media training, and concluded: “Over a 10-year period, CEO reputation will drive the company’s reputation.”