Over the last month Houston PR has been working on a report examining the role of the CEO in corporate communications.

One of the most interesting findings has been the extent to which CEOs (in the eyes of business editors in the UK and US) are ‘valued’ as part of the entity as a whole.

When asked how much of a company’s value is vested in a CEO, just under a third of editors and correspondents that we have surveyed so far said that the CEO represented 50% or more of the value of the business.

This is extraordinary – and has ramifications for the CEO’s role in corporate communications – as well as in Board decision-making and strategic planning for a CEO’s departure.

One way of looking at this is as follows:

An exceptional CEO’s departure requires a strategy that befits a business effectively being ‘spun off’ from its leader.

Or put another way: some businesses are effectively subsidiaries of exceptional leaders.

The departures of exceptional CEOs are rarely overnight events.  There is generally an opportunity for detailed planning – and most organisations have a detailed succession plan that they implement.

Interestingly, though, the emphasis tends to be on the replacement (or if events conspire, the search for the replacement) rather than on the business itself.  The opportunity missed in this should not be underestimated.

Exceptional CEOs are adept at delivering a sophisticated narrative which inevitably has themselves at the heart.  The core challenge for companies is to ensure that there is a strong and compelling narrative, despite having written the main character out of the plot.  As ever, perception minus reality equals enterprise value.

If you’d like a copy of our full report when it is complete, please let me know.  If you’d like to meet and discuss your PR and brand communications strategy for 2016, I’d be delighted to meet.

Very best wishes for the New Year

Hamish hthompson@houstonpr.co.uk Twitter: @HamishMThompson +44 (0) 7702 684290

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