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Cult of the CEO: More than a job title?

  • March 2014
  • -
  • MarketLine
  • -
  • 28 pages


A company's CEO is often seen as the single most important factor driving its performance. The appointment or resignation of the top executive can have a significant effect on everything from staff morale to share price, and the likes of Steve Jobs and Jamie Dimon have become celebrities in their own right. This case study examines how the role of the CEO is changing in the 'age of personality'.

Features and benefits

* Examines the importance of a CEO and what the role entails
* Analyzes how the role is evolving and the increased importance of image in the 'age of personality'
* Explores the issue of executive pay and how it can be justified in relation to employees' pay
* Looks at a number of chosen CEOs, what makes them stand apart from their peers, and how their success can be measured


The role of a CEO has evolved and now goes far beyond being a figurehead or the face of the company. In the 21st Century, their personality and appearance hold almost as much sway as cold, hard financial results. This case study examines how important perception of a CEO is and looks at how they work to cultivate their image.
Executive pay has increasingly drawn the ire of many in recent years as it has continued to rise, sometimes with little in the way of justification from financial results. The disparity between CEO pay and that of the average worker has also been the target of great criticism. This case study looks at CEO pay and whether it can be justified.
This case study analyzes the cases of standout CEOs. The CEOs considered in the report are Steve Jobs, who helped transform Apple, Elon Musk one of his generation's great innovators, Marissa Mayer, who bucks the trend of white, middle-aged male CEOs, and Fred Goodwin, who went from hero to zero following the near collapse of RBS in 2008.

Your key questions answered

* What does the role of CEO entail?
* How important is a CEO to the performance of his/her company?
* What are the average rates of pay for CEOs and can they be justified?
* Who are some of industry's standout leaders and what sets them apart from their peers?

Table Of Contents

Cult of the CEO: More than a job title?
The traditional role of the CEO
CEO is the face of the company
CEO sets and reinforces company culture
CEO is the decision maker
The role of CEO has evolved
CEO: Perceived most important driver of business performance
Celebrity CEOs
Image is everything
Business now reflects other areas of life
Looks are important
The demographic profile of CEOs remains fixed
CEO pay is commensurate with status
Status as performance driver is reflected in pay, sometimes with little justification
The evolution of CEO pay
CEO pay in relation to other staff
Steve Jobs: CEO of the decade
Steve Jobs: founder and innovator
Steve Jobs and Reality Distortion Field
Jobs transformed Apple into one of the world's most valuable companies
Elon Musk: Genius Boy
Innovator of a generation
Musk belongs to a new generation of young, founder CEOs
Marissa Mayer: Bucking the trend
A young achiever
A series of firsts
Fred Goodwin: Revered, then reviled
2001-2007: Unbridled success
From hero to zero
With great power comes great pay and great responsibility
Further Reading
Ask the analyst
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