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Share This Too: More Social Media Solutions for PR Professionals by Stephen Waddington, Rob Brown, Chartered Institute of Public Relations

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Chapter 24

The Social CEO

Jane Wilson

While the CEOs of the world's largest companies have been quick to grasp the power of social media for their organizations, they are yet to be convinced of the benefits of their own personal use. Here we examine the opportunities for leaders to build and benefit from a social presence and whether this means that the charismatic (and social) CEO is now here to stay.

When Lee Iacocca was given credit for single-handedly turning around the fortunes of US car giant Chrysler in the late 1970s, the cult of the charismatic CEO was born. Since then, a parade of celebrity leaders from GE's Jack Welch to Apple's Steve Jobs have embedded the view that it isn't enough for bosses to be capable managers and administrators relying on a solid senior team and a workforce that delivers. They have to be charismatic, media friendly leaders, prepared to take sole credit when things go well and blame when they don't.

However, the idea that the fortunes of a company are down solely to the CEO is going out of fashion. It creates an unsustainable expectation of the actual impact of any one leader and isn't a true reflection of the personalities of some of the men and women at the top of the world's most successful organizations.

How does this sit with the current trend of encouraging today's leaders to tweet, blog, post and share? With a more intense spotlight on business leaders, is this the right time to be selling even greater scrutiny to your CEO? And should corporate ...

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