Who'd Make the Best Corporate CEO?

Who would make the best corporate chief executive - Dick Cheney, Tony Blair or Rudy Giuliani - and more importantly, what is the most important quality for a CEO to have in these difficult times?

Who would make the best corporate chief executive - George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Al Gore, Tony Blair or Rudy Giuliani - and more importantly, what is the most important quality for a CEO to have in these difficult times?

A new leadership survey of top executives at Fortune 1000 companies, which was conducted for the Council of Public Relations Firms, was released today. According to the survey:

Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell would be the best CEOs, followed by President George W. Bush and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Next in order of preference were Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Former President Bill Clinton garnered only 3 percent of the vote, while none of the executives surveyed selected former Vice President Al Gore.

According to nearly half (47 percent), of all the executives surveyed, the single most important quality for a CEO to have in tough times like these is the ability to effectively communicate and motivate, followed by decisiveness (31 percent) and being a visionary (15 percent). Other qualities, including being tireless and hard-working, were far down on the list of important attributes. Having compassion or empathy for employees was listed as a quality for leadership by only 1 percent of those executives surveyed.

"The survey shows that America''s executives put a premium on the ability of corporate leaders to communicate company policy and give direction with clarity and conviction, and to energize and motivate managers and workers alike. In this difficult economic environment, effective communication, both internal and external, can inform, motivate, build trust and reassure," said Kathy Cripps, president of the Council of Public Relations Firms.

Interviews were conducted with 150 presidents, executive vice presidents, directors and CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies. The survey was completed on Jan. 22.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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