Who'd Make the Best Corporate CEO?

Feb. 8, 2002
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])

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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