Corp Communications Chiefs Have Longer Tenures, Says New Study

According to a new study, there is a strong link between a company’s corporate communications organization and the company’s ranking on Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list.  Also, findings reveal that the professional background, communications priorities and inter-organizational relationships of the executive—or chief communications offier—who leads a company’s corporate communications department, indicate whether that company's orporate communications department will make a positive impact on a company’s reputation.  

The survey compares responses from communications officers in the “world’s most admired companies” with those in “contender companies” (generally, most admired companies are the most highly ranked companies in an industry on overall reputation; contender companies are ranked in the industry’s bottom half).  The 141 survey participants were top corporate communications executives from Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and Europe.

The survey, which was conducted by global executive search firm Spencer Stuart and global public relations firm Weber Shandwick with KRC Research, examines the changing role of today’s CCO.

“In a fast-paced and dynamic business environment, communications officers are increasingly seen as a business partner for the CEO and leadership team in the stewardship of a company’s reputation,” said George Jamison, corporate communications practice leader at Spencer Stuart.  “CCOs are expected to create value and mitigate risks for the corporation by developing innovative strategies to proactively communicate with a company’s myriad stakeholders.”

The research found that communications executives in the world’s most highly regarded companies have more prominent organizational status and longer tenures than their counterparts in contender companies. Additionally, approximately one-third of CCOs from the most admired companies cite corporate reputation as their number one priority for 2008, compared to fewer than one-quarter of CCOs from contender companies (34 vs. 21 percent, respectively).  Contender company communications executives said they were spending more time working on product-related issues and crisis communications, while most admired CCOs said they spent more time on corporate social responsibility and building corporate reputation.

“Our research identifies how the corporate communications function can be a critical force in driving a company’s reputation in good times and bad,” said Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick and leading corporate and CEO reputation expert. “With the right organizational structure and partnership at the top, the best CCOs can significantly contribute to building shareholder value and corporate reputation.”  


Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Measurement Conference 

Media Relations ConferenceJoin PR News at the National Press Club on Dec. 11 for the Media Relations Conference, where you'll learn how to tie your media relations initiatives to business goals, use the right metrics to prove the success of your efforts, incorporate social media in a brand crisis and more.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.