CEO Stockwatch Q2 2011

The twin spectres of fear and uncertainty continued to stalk stock markets between March 12, 2011 and June 30, 2011 – the period covered by CARMA International’s latest survey of media reporting of business leaders. The fragility of the global economic recovery and the unfolding crisis in the eurozone rattled nerves. Continuing unrest in the Middle East and the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan also heightened tension. In the eurozone, the EU and IMF approved a bailout package for Portugal and, in late June, the Greek government pushed austerity measures through parliament, helping to spark a resurgence in stock markets.

Against this turbulence, the top 20 rankings of the CARMA survey were reshuffled. Warren Buffet moved up to first place from third, displacing Steve Jobs of Apple, who slipped to fifth position. Continuing fallout from the corporate espionage scandal at Renault lifted Carlos Ghosn into third place from seventh, and bestowed on him the dubious distinction of scoring the highest proportion of negative media mentions of CEOs in the top 20. In mid-March, Ghosn refused to accept the resignation of his deputy, Patrick Pélata, over the scandal, but both men agreed to forsake their performance bonuses for 2010 and their stock options in 2011. Bob Dudley, who replaced Tony Hayward at the helm of BP after the Mexican Gulf oil spill disaster, rose one place to fourth as his Russian deal floundered. Rupert Murdoch remained at number two, as reporting continued on his bid to control BSkyB and fresh revelations emerged of phone hacking at newspapers within his group. Nevertheless, Rupert Murdoch avoided negative mentions over the period.