Fear and uncertainty continued to stalk global stock markets in the second quarter of 2012, the period covered by CARMA International’s latest survey of media reporting of business leaders. The continuing Eurozone crisis, fragile US recovery and slowing growth in emerging markets such as China and India weighed on investor confidence. In Britain, the economy lurched back into recession, though the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the approaching London 2012 Olympics gave people some reasons to be cheerful.
On both sides of the Atlantic, fury over lavish pay awards and bonuses for top executives galvanized shareholders to challenge boards and business leaders. Media reporting of this widespread shareholder dissent – nicknamed the “shareholder spring” – was mirrored in the CARMA survey. Unsurprisingly, bankers were among those CEOs that reaped negative reporting because of their generous pay, but anger erupted among shareholders of other companies too, propelling Andrew Moss of Aviva into 18th place in global media.
Amongst the bankers, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup rose one place to seventh in the global listing. Pandit’s pay award was voted down by more than half of the bank’s shareholders. Nevertheless, 42 per cent of his reporting was favourable and only seven per cent was downright negative. Bob Diamond too attracted more reporting this quarter, rising ten places to sixth, though only four per cent of his mentions were negative and 38 per cent proved positive.