The Role of the CEO In Reputation

The Role Of A CEO In Corporate Reputation


Let’s make no mistake, the role of today's CEO in corporate reputation goes way beyond the more traditional thinking of being a strong leader in times of crisis.  When (not if) an organisation suffers from a reputation incident, it is of course the CEO who will be expected to respond quickly, visibility, proportionately, appropriately and with substance.

For many CEOs, the thought of responding to this situation is deemed to be a necessary evil, part of the role they are prepared to face when necessary.  The reality is this is just the tip of the CEO iceberg in their responsibilities for reputation management.

The CEO IS the reputation ambassador for that organisation, they are the holder of this valuable intangible asset, their actions or words can build or destroy value.

There are increasing expectations on an organisation, from all of its stakeholders, for transparency, leadership and stewardship. And it is the CEO, as leader of the organisation who is tasked with being able to consistently demonstration all of these aspects.  While, at the time of a reputation incident, he or she will be held responsible for processes, systems and communications being put out, there is a 365 days a year intangible expectation to be visible in that stewardship, to be reactive and accessible, to be responsive to supporters and detractors.


For a CEO, that means two things become necessary:

1.     Having a full, 360 degree understanding of current reputation standing and leading the organisation to actively manage that to have the greatest possible influence on it.  This is the way to not only protect reputation capital but to maximise it.

2.     As a leader of reputation, having an online personal reputation that not only complements but supports their professional position is expected. Being the leader that they are claiming to be, demonstrating that in action and embodying the reputation to which the organisation aspires means personal and professional values must be genuinely aligned and demonstrated.


The Role of The CEO In Reputation. The Basics

  • Accepting ultimate responsibility for corporate reputation.
  • Consistent demonstration of visibility, responsiveness and transparency, 
  • Clear reputation leadership, not only in times of crisis.
  • The need for personal and professional reputation alignment.
  • Management information reporting on reputation to demonstrate how your leadership is protecting and enhancing reputational capital.





The Role of CEO in Reputation. The Aims

  • Evidence the current reputation standing of your oragnisation,
  • Appreciate how current reputation standing varies across stakeholder groups.
  • Take conscious decisions as to the aspects of reputation you wish to change and those you are not prepared to.  Be able to justify that.
  • Know how your organisation’s processes, systems and relationships are supporting and detracting from your reputation capital.
  • Understand the capability of your organisation and its functions in building reputation capital.
  • Be comfortable in how your personal and professional values align and how your personal reputation is supporting your professional role.
  • Be responsive, accessible and engaging, including having an authentic presence on social media.


  • Equip yourself to be able to respond appropriately and proportionately to any reputation event, by having a clear picture of your reputation standing and being able to differentiate between a potential crisis and a storm in a tea cup.