Standing Up

July 21, 2006

Standing Up


The CEO of Cadbury Schweppes, Todd Stitzer, wrote an oped that appeared in the Financial Times on June 1, 2006. Essentially he was asking CEOs to stand up and defend the reputation of business. Not that business leaders have been blameless but that “by being too quiet in the past, business has allowed the argument to pass by default, with very damaging perceptions forming along the way. It is crucial that we communicate our positions and beliefs and why we are taking the actions that we are. Generally, the distrust has become so entrenched that rather than reach out, many companies have retreated and not communicated, fearing what people will say and what journalists will write.” My prediction is that we will see more CEOs standing up on behalf of their companies in the next few years. It would be hard to ignore the intense communications efforts of Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott or Citibank’s Chuck Prince. The recent GM Fastlane.com blog response to the critical New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman’s piece is yet another example.

Stitzer also noted that his board has one of the few FTSE companies with a board committee focused on corporate social responsibility. Definitely worth noting.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

2 Comments
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