Came across an interesting statement about CEOs this morning. It was in a Justmeans blog post about how CSR needs to get more humanized, meaning making a stronger link between the CSR director or manager with a company’s CSR initiatives and thereby giving it a face. The author Akhila Vijayaraghavan wrote:
This year will see the beginning of a shift from CSR itself to the CSR practitioner. Just like brand image is beginning to collate itself with CEO image, so will CSR with the CSR practitioner/manager. I believe this could be an important trend because putting a ‘face’ on CSR makes it not so ‘corporate’. CSR practitioners deal with far-reaching environmental, social and ethical issues on a daily basis that are profoundly human. Taking the corporate out of CSR will bring to the spotlight of what the people in businesses are really capable of . This is a good thing not just for CSR but also CSR practitioners.
As a long-time CEO reputation watcher and if I understand what she meant in her post (people often speak about brand and corporate reputation/image in the same breath), brands — not just corporations — will increasingly be linked with CEOs. For many years, the research I did found that nearly one half of a company’s reputation was tied to that of its CEO. However, the reputation of the brand was not as tightly correlated until the Internet came along and changed the game. Now that anyone anywhere can find out the parent company of a brand and also who its CEO is, that is most probably changing. And I expect it will change quickly.