CEOs Need to be More Visible and Engaged

CEO visibility

Have you noticed the absence of local CEOs on LinkedIn?!



I did a quick check of the top SA listed businesses and here’s what I found:

  • Naspers, Bob van Dijk – unbranded profile, won’t accept connections and NO activity
  • FirstRand, Johan Burger – absent
  • Std Bank, Sim Tshabalala – empty profile
  • Vodacom, Shameel Joosub – unbranded, 3 connections, NO activity
  • Sasol, Bongani Nqwababa – empty profile / Stephen Cornell – absent
  • MTN, Rob Shuter – nicely branded page, only 3742 connections, minimal original content
  • Old Mutual, Peter Moyo – still listed as Chairman of Vodacom
  • Sanlam, Ian Kirk – absent
  • Nedbank, Mike Brown – empty profile
  • Shoprite, Pieter Engelbrecht – absent
  • Discovery, Adrian Gore – empty profile


So, there’s one vague attempt by MTN and the rest do nothing!

Let’s compare this to some of the top US companies:

  • Microsoft, Satya Nadella – beautifully branded page, Influencer status, 5m followers
  • Dell Technologies, Michael Dell – properly branded, Influencer status, 1,2m followers, regular content and great engagement rates
  • General Motors, Mary Barra – properly branded, Influencer status, 1,1m followers
  • JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon – unbranded page, Influencer status, 922k followers
  • Unilever, Paul Polman – properly branded, Influencer status, 905k followers, DAILY content
  • Verizon, Lowell McAdam – properly branded, Influencer status, 308k followers
  • UPS, David Abney – unbranded page, Influencer, 254k followers and daily content
  • GE, John Flannery – ditto, 85k followers
  • Procter & Gamble, David Taylor – ditto, 25k followers
  • Walmart, Doug McMillan – ditto, 16,5k followers


The obviously missing ones are Apple (Tim Cook), Amazon (Jeff Bezos), Alphabet (Larry Page), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg – you didn’t really expect him to be on LI!) and Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet) – but let’s face it, they don’t need it!

A recent poll of global executives clearly shows the importance of CEO Reputation:

“The benefits of cultivating a highly regarded CEO reputation, in addition to enhancing market value, are plenty. Executives report significant benefits that accrue from positive CEO reputation including attracting investors (87%), positive media attention (83%), and crisis protection (83%). Strong CEO reputation also attracts (77%) and retains (70%) employees.”

Hand in hand with this is the finding that: “For a company to be highly regarded, its CEO needs to be visibly engaged with its many audiences. A full eight in 10 executives (81%) report that it is important for CEOs to have a visible public profile for a company to be highly regarded. This was not always the case. Years ago, CEOs and those around them confused CEO visibility with CEO celebrity. Today, it is not about CEO celebrity, but CEO credibility. Today, CEO visibility means having a greater presence, but this time, with greater purpose.”

You know what they say about first mover advantage… get with the programme corporate SA!!!

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