Posted March 4, 2008 10:12 am by with 3 comments

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Fortune magazine has released it’s list of "America’s Most Admired Companies" and Google places a distant fourth in the list.

What’s interesting is the companies ahead of Google. While you could argue that Apple deserves its #1 spot based upon its brand and products, there might be some other factor at play–the CEO Halo Effect.

Let’s take a look:

  • Apple – who hasn’t heard of Steve Jobs? Who doesn’t wish they were Steve Jobs?
  • Berkshire Hathaway – quick name 3 companies owned by Berkshire Hathaway? OK, now name the CEO? I bet Warren Buffett comes to mind easier than Acme Brick Company, Fruit of the Look, or even, GEICO.
  • GE – same question, name the brands under GE? No? OK, name the former CEO who was ruthless about trimming the fat from under-performing divisions? I bet you remembered former CEO Jack Welch, easier than the many GE brands.

And now Google. No offense to Eric Schmidt–he’s a nice guy, very smart–but he doesn’t quite have the flair and instant recognition of Jobs, Buffett and Welch–does he?

Don’t believe me that there’s some kind of CEO halo effect going on here? In Radically Transparent, we look at the connection between a CEO’s reputation and that of the company’s. Here’s a stat I’ll throw out from the book…

The CEO reputation is a very important component of the company reputation, according to 87% of the respondents in a Hill and Knowlton study.

Maybe it’s time for Schmidt to start wearing black turtleneck sweaters! 😉


  • PS3

    Steve Jobs is certainly the one that stands out for me.

    I’m not really sure why, but the name itself has some sort of appeal. “Jobs” isn’t a surname that I hear alot, certainly not this side of the pond in the UK.

    He may not have the style of some of his products, but a household name (for anyone who likes gadgets) nonetheless.

  • Hard to argue against the top 3, though being #4 on this list isn’t exactly the same as losing.

    On thing Eric Schmidt has going against him is that when you think of Google Sergey Brin and Larry Page might come to mind first.

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