10 CEOs Who are Winning on Reputation & Why Corporate Social Responsibility Plays a Role

13 June 2018 10:44am

Sundar Pichai of Google and Tatsumi Kimishima of Nintendo are among the world’s ten CEOs with the best reputations. That’s according to a new study by the Reputation Institute, which also found a “direct and strong correlation” between a CEO’s reputation and how their company is perceived.

Why should customers, shareholders and third parties care about the reputation of a CEO? Surely it’s only the company’s reputation that matters? Not according to new research by the Reputation Institute. It found that a CEO’s reputation accounts for 14% of their company’s reputation. It found that a CEO being visible is important—if the public is familiar with them, their company’s reputation increases by 10.5%.  

“CEOs are being put on a pedestal in many ways and publicly scrutinised like never before,” says Stephen Hahn-Griffiths of the Reputation Institute. Company leaders should carefully consider these findings—customers, investors and third parties are more willing to deal with companies with a good reputation, so a CEO’s reputation directly affects the bottom line.

When it comes to added value from reputation, trust is paramount. There is strong evidence to suggest that when a company—and its CEO—are recognized as trustworthy, the company benefits greatly—from attracting investors and increasing consumer engagement to motivating its workforce and improving third-party relationships.  

The Reputation Institute’s findings reiterate the value of earned trust. It is not enough for a CEO just to be visible in public; they must also demonstrate a commitment to ethical behaviour and corporate social responsibility. One-third of a CEO’s reputation is determined by whether they behave ethically and support to social causes. According to the study, the top 10 CEOs were all widely perceived to display empathy, trust, consistency, social responsibility and openness. “There is a new era emerging in which the intangibles of reputation are driving political, social and economic change, and giving CEOs reason to reconsider their role as a leader,” said Mr Hahn-Griffiths. “To be relevant as a contemporary CEO today, you need to be a CEO with a conscience.”  


The top 10 CEOs (in alphabetical order) are: 

  • Giorgio Armani of Giorgio Armani 
  • Keith Barr of InterContinental Hotels Group 
  • Fabrizio Freda of The Estee Lauder Company 
  • Ralph Hamers of ING 
  • Bernard Hess of The Kraft Heinz Company 
  • Tatsumi Kimishima of Nintendo 
  • Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup Company 
  • Sundar Pichai of Google 
  • Dirk Van de Put of Mondelez International 
  • Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn


The analysis looked at 28,000 individual ratings of multinational companies in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the UK and the U.S.

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