What’s more, the marketing/ creative agency sector trumped tech and airlines in CEO appreciation. When it comes to executive leadership likability, not all industries are created equal. Marketing and creative agencies, automotive, insurance, travel and artificial intelligence are the top five sectors where you’re most likely to find great CEOs.
Out of 25 total industries, tech made the 16th spot, with on-demand economy, SaaS and airline organizations filling out the bottom three.
Echoing the industry rankings, the short-list of most disliked CEOs included a handful of major tech and airline leaders. HP’s Dion Weisler, HPE’s Meg Whitman and (now former) Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer were three of the lowest-rated public company CEOs, attaining just under one-third of the average scores of Costco and Marriott’s chief executives.
Given the airline industry’s recent string of widely publicized customer service incidents, it came as little surprise to the study’s researchers that American Airlines’ Doug Parker, Southwest’s Gary Kelly and United’s Oscar Munoz earned some of the lowest likability scores.
Men and women
When it came to gender differences, more attention, apparently, doesn’t translate to higher approval ratings for women CEOs of public companies. Reaffirming the fact that the corner office is still predominantly male territory, only 5 percent of the public companies we analyzed had women in the chief executive spot.
Despite that imbalance, women CEOs of public organizations received 58 percent more feedback from the market than their male counterparts. But this added attention didn’t necessarily mean a more positive perception: Women CEOs at public companies earned an average approval rating of 62.5, compared to 67.1 for men.
Ultimately, the lack of female CEOs in public companies has made it so individual performance holds greater influence over perceptions of female leadership. Low ratings for leaders embroiled in PR disasters — like Marissa Mayer or Mylan’s Heather Bresch — could have an outsized impact on the broader sentiment toward female CEOs.
Before Twitter, Facebook and the 24/7 news cycle, even the most unsavory CEO behavior could go unnoticed. While research like the National CEO Likeability Study doesn’t define what makes a business leader truly “good” or “bad,” it does illuminate who’s getting it right – and where there’s room for reflection and improvement.
As employees, shareholders and consumers, we have a lot invested in our corporate leadership, be it tangible dollars or invaluable trust. The more transparency we have into CEO performance, the easier it is for us to measure these cmpanies’ returns.