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Why CEOs Are Losing Credibility and How They Can Rebuild It

CEOs aren’t the most despised public figures in America today—this dubious honor seems to belong to the press and members of Congress—but their reputation has taken a hit in recent times.

Whether the issue is a misuse of corporate power, the inability to keep one’s personal and corporate finances separate or a stunning lack of empathy with customers and the public at large, the position of chief executive officer is not currently revered the way it once was.

Take, for example, the results of a survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, “The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust – CEO Spotlight.” The firm surveyed 1,375 consumers and 575 senior executives in the U.S., the UK, China and Brazil. Among its findings:

  • 49% of a company’s reputation can be attributed to its CEO’s reputation.
  • 60% of a company’s market derives from its reputation.
  • 50% of consumers have lost respect for CEOs and other corporate leaders in recent years.

As noted by Susanna Kim, ABC News Business Digital Reporter, CEO misconduct was the root cause for former Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn’s 2012 resignation, after an investigation determined he’d had an inappropriate relationship with a female employee. Things got worse; a subsequent investigation showed that founder Richard Schulze (Dunn’s successor) neglected to inform the Best Buy board of directors about Dunn’s alleged misconduct.

An even more spectacular example of CEO mismanagement was Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld’s actions prior to the collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008. Because of a refusal to concede that Lehman was undercapitalized, Fuld put off raising desperately needed capital and clung to the mistaken belief that the U.S. government would eventually bail Lehman Brothers out of trouble. Instead, the venerable firm crashed and burned.


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  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.