Category Archives: CEO

A Letter from a CEO to his Investor… that Killed his Career

Klaus Kleinfeld, former CEO of German industry giant Siemens, resigned from his position as CEO of Arconic a specialty metals producer spun-off of aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. Kleinfeld resigned after a letter that he had written to Paul Singer, founder of $33 billion hedge fund Elliott Management. Elliott owns a 13 percent stake in Arconic and had launched a campaign to oust… Read More »

United Airlines – a Reputation Disaster

It has been a horrible week for communicators at United Airlines, when the overbooking of a plane led to a PR disaster (likely the biggest “shit storm” ever in the airline industry – so far). When the airline tried to place a crew on a fully booked flight from Chicago to Louisville it started to look for volunteers who would… Read More »

The Impact of Leadership on Reputation

I recently came across an interesting conversation at the Reputation Institute about the role of leadership in reputation management (and development). The starting point for this is that RI estimates that roughly 2/3 of a company’s reputation is determined by company factors rather than product factors (And on a side note: RI also has found that the impact… Read More »

World Leaders on Facebook

Do you still remember President Obama’s first Facebook post as @POTUS on 9 November 2015? “This is a place where we can have real conversations about the most important issues facing our country – a place where you can hear directly from me, and share your own thoughts and stories.” The Obama @POTUS page, including its 3.9 million… Read More »

Key to persuasive public speaking

Allison Shapira, trainer and coach for public speaking, wrote an excellent piece on HBR.org on how to speak more persuasively in public. And the key is not necessarily a well written speech but it is rather the way that you speak and use your voice. Her 4 top tips: Start with the right posture Breathe deeply Speak “on the… Read More »

Designing an official apology – when companies have to admit mistakes

Okay – summer vacation is over and we better get back to work! And I’ll start right a way with a note on the best piece of writing on I have read this summer – one that certainly provides some inspiration for the upcoming textbook updates of “Introduction to Corporate Communication”. The Harvard Business Review in its September issue… Read More »

CEO signatures

If you have covered financial communication and its tools and tactics – you at least have a rough understanding of what an annual report is (From Chapter 7: “a comprehensive report on a company’s activities throughout the preceding year (…) intended to give shareholders and other interested people information on the company’s activities and performance.”) Of course you’re probably… Read More »

Icahn’s open letter

Carl Icahn is an investment legend and has certainly made it into several CEOs’ nightmares. While we are usually talking about “Financial Communication” in terms of how to best communicate with the financial industry and investment community, Icahn is an extreme example of the plentiful challenges for financial communicators. He frequently uses public communication including a dedicated online platform (Shareholders’… Read More »

CEO plain-speech-ranking

For the fourth time, the University Hohenheim / Germany has published its plain-text-ranking of CEO annual meeting speeches. The communication scientists led by Prof. Brettschneider are using a special formula to calculate the formal understandability of the often hour-long speeches. Criteria that enter the formula include the length of sentences, the share of sentences with more than 20 words, the… Read More »